The people of Rumuekpe Community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State on Monday, protested against alleged continuous harassment and arrest of their youths by operatives of the Department of State Services over allegations of oil theft.
The aggrieved Rumueke community indigenes, complained that operatives of DSS and other security agencies have continued to be harassed and arrest their youths, even when they have stopped all forms of illegal oil bunkering and refining activities in the area.
Leader of the protest, Confidence Orlukwu, lamented that Rumuekpe community, despite playing host to several oil and gas multinational companies, has no federal or state presence but constant intimidation and humiliation by security agents
Orlukwu accused the DSS of arresting some of their youths and denying them access to the detained youths for over three months now; adding that youths of the community were dying in their numbers, in their attempt to escape from the harassment from the security agents.
“Presently, Rumuekpe is host to more than five oil multinationals. We have Shell, TotalEnergies, Agip and NDPR presently operating in our community. Rumuekpe is the breast milk of this country; but as at today, you cannot find any federal or state project in Rumuekpe.
“We are dying. We are being intimidated by security agencies. They said oil bunkering should stop and today, Rumuekpe is no longer doing bunkering; yet the security agencies are arresting us.
“DSS operatives are coming every day to arrest our youths, when we are no longer doing oil bunkering activities.
“I appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Director of DSS, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Rivers State Governor to come our aide. You people said we should stop oil bunkering and we have stopped, why is the security agencies arresting our youths?”
Similarly, a community leader in Rumuekpe community, Maxwell Iyiaka, said the protest was imperative, as young men no longer sleep in their homes because of the activities of DSS
Iyiaka accused the DSS of arresting an indigene of the area, Chimene Wobihele, and other members of the community, without granting them access to contact their people, alleging that the personal belongings of the detained persons were also detained at the DSS premises in Port Harcourt.
He also called on the government at all levels to urgently intervene to save them from dying in a problem they know nothing about.
“The protest is to let the world know the kind of harassment and intimidation we are passing though in the hands of DSS amd other security agencies.
“We are now sleeping in bush. We are not criminals. We are not involved in social vices.”224000521" crossorigin="anonymous">