Rita Enemuru, Reporting
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has lamented that crude oil theft has resulted in the loss of over 9 million barrels in the first quarter of 2022.
He said this during the inauguration of eight Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) gunboats in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday, August 30, 2022.
According to him, the act of illegal bunkering has incurred the loss of million of dollars daily, as out of the 141 million barrels of oil produced during that period, only 132 million barrels of oil were received at export terminals.
He said, “the Country in recent past, had recorded various occurrences of crude oil theft and reports, has shown that the country loses million of dollars daily such that of the 141 million barrels of oil produced, in the 1st quarter of year 2022, only 132 million barrels of oil were received, at export terminals; the aftermath results further reveal that over 9 million barrels of oil was lost to crude oil theft.”
Stonix News reports that the inauguration of the gunboats, therefore, was a measure put in place to curb the menace of illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the country.
Also, the action was required to increase the NSCDC Anti Vandalism Squad’s combative capability in order to stop the massive income loss in the oil sector that is threatening the Federal Government.
Describing the incident of oil theft as an organized crime, Aregbesola said the act was robbing the country of million dollar earnings, yearly.
The minister added that the NSCDC, which is in charge of protecting critical national infrastructure and assets, is required to use the government’s available logistics to lower crime rates and take the fight against crude oil theft to the enemy’s territory.
He called on all security agencies to shun inter-agency rivalries and synergize, by supporting the fight against oil theft, in order to salvage and rid the nation’s economy of saboteurs.
The NSCDC Commandant General, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, responding affirmed that the newly inaugurated gunboats will improve the Corps’ morale on its fight against crude oil theft along the rivers.
“The NSCDC is generally expected to effectively, safeguard Critical Infrastructure and oil installations, which are very central and vital, to the socio-economic development of the nation.
“The Corps is saddled with the mandate, to guard against oil theft, illegal oil bunkering through the provision of physical security to oil pipelines against vandalism.
“Therefore, any threat to the oil and gas sector is automatically, considered as a high security concern owing to the debilitating effects it has on national development.
“It also constitutes environmental degradation, pollution, destruction of land and aquatic life, loss of means of livehood and drastic reduction, in the inflow of foreign exchange needed to bolster the economy of the nation,” he affirmed.
He concluded by urging Nigerians to help security agencies win the war against the country’s enemies by providing reliable intelligence and information that could result in the arrest and prosecution of oil pipeline vandals and economic saboteurs.
This was contained in a Press Release signed by the Director of Public Relations, DCC Olusola Odumosu and made available to Stonix News.