Nigeria CDS Pallies N’Delta Govs, Others Over Security Of Hydrocarbon Infrastructure

Muhammed Abubakar, Reporting

The Nigeria Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General LEO Irabor, has solicited sustainable collaboration among all stakeholders in the value chain of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

He made the request in Abuja on Friday 18 February 2022 during a meeting with the governors of oil and gas producing states, heads of security agencies, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd as well as CEOs of the Upstream and Downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.

Director Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, in a statement made available to Stonix News, said the meeting, which was mandated by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, was to consider a framework for reversing dwindling oil production occasioned by oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism, among other economic crimes.

He quoted General Irabor as saying that the nation’s economy was bleeding as oil production had become abysmally low thereby adversely affecting the national economy and that of the oil-producing states.

He added that environmental degradation and health challenges thrown up by pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering and refining has also impinged on the wellbeing of the communities due to pollution of the waters, land and air, thereby giving rise to a cycle of poverty and diseases.

Accordingly, he said General Irabor has decided to lead the heads of the security and intelligence agencies as well as the CEOs of the oil and gas regulatory bodies to engage with the governors of the concerned states.

“So, given that the issues demand quick action as mandated by Mr President, we have come to engage with you,” the statement read.

The resultant framework from the engagement, he added, would involve the whole of society, and that it would be a win-win situation for all stakeholders, including the host communities.

He opined that governors of the affected states will be playing a crucial role in the industry-wide security of the hydro-carbon infrastructure and overall oil production capacity of the country.

Akpor further quoted the CDS as saying that the responsibility of the Armed Forces and other security agencies was to provide security across the space, including the oil and gas sector.

“The collaboration of the Governors and host communities was however, pivotal to the successful accomplishment of the constitutional roles of the Armed Forces and other security agencies,” he said.

Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, while speaking on behalf of the governors, thanked the President for mandating the engagement.

According to him, the governors of the oil-producing states are equally worried about the level of economic sabotage in the oil and gas industry, with its attendant dwindling oil revenue and environmental and health challenges.

Okowa expressed the commitment of his colleagues to contribute meaningfully towards a collaborative framework that would guarantee greater prosperity for the nation, the states and host communities.

Other governors at the meeting were: Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, while the governors of Edo, Imo and Ondo were represented by their deputies.

Heads of security agencies that attended the meeting included the Inspector General of Police, Mr Alkali Baba, Director General National Intelligence Agency, Mr Ahmed Abubakar and Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Audi Ahmed.

The Director General, Department of State Services was represented by his deputy.

The Chief of Defence Intelligence at the Defence Intelligence Agency, Chief of Defence Training and Operations at Defence Headquarters and his counterparts in the Services Headquarters were all in attendance.

Furthermore, the CEO NNPC Ltd, Mr Mele Kyari with the CEOs Upstream and Downstream Oil Sectors, were present at the meeting.

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