The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), Port Harcourt Zone, has raised alarm over the increasing insecurity in the South-south and South East Zones of the country.
PENGASSAN Port Harcourt Zone comprises Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States.
Mr. Peter Chukwudi Onita, Chairman, PENGASSAN, Port Harcourt Zonal Branch, stated that the development is posing a major threat to oil and gas activities in the region and remained a major setback to the $1.5 billion Port Harcourt refinery rehabilitation project.
The Association cautioned that if the current insecurity situation is not curtailed, it might have a devastating effect on the socio-economic well-being of the nation.
“As the Zone with the highest individual key players and conglomerates in the oil and gas sector, we demand that the states should be empowered with the necessary legislations that will enable them take charge of security issues in their domain. The era of centralized policing should be done away with’’, it said.
The Association said the current state of affairs in kidnapping for ransom, attacks on security agencies and rise of militia groups, if allowed to persist, may have dire consequences and threats to food and economic security as well as life of the citizens of not only the states under the zone, but to the entire nation.
PENGASSAN urged the federal government to focus on opening new frontiers that will harness the abundant natural gas resources in the Zone, as well as the establishment of modular refineries and training facilities for the youths in the oil-bearing communities, as a way to fighting the rising wave of criminality and other social vices.