Nigeria to fight oil thieves with N15 billion

A worker at an illegal refinery fed by stolen crude oil

A worker at an illegal refinery fed by stolen crude oil

Nigeria’s Federal government has set aside the sum of N15 Billion for provision of equipment and logistics that will help security operatives fight oil thieves operating in the oil producing region, it was announced on Thursday.

The amount was approved today at the meeting, in the Presidential Villa, of the National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo.

The fund is to be provided through a tripartite arrangement involving, federal and state governments and international oil companies.

Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state revealed all this, while briefing state house correspondents after Thursday meeting of National Economic Council meeting chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the presidential villa.

He added that there has been increase in Nigeria oil production following the deployment of Military Joint Task Force (MJTF) to Niger Delta region to protect the nation’s oil installation.

Bayelsa state deputy governor, John Jonah who also spoke on the security situation in the oil producing region, said it is the responsibility of government to equip security agencies so that they can protect the oil facilities. Jonah said the money voted to secure the oil installations is minimal when compared to huge amount of money being lost to oil thieves on daily basis and the effect on the ecosystem.

•A worker at an illegal refinery fed by stolen crude oil
•A worker at an illegal refinery fed by stolen crude oil

He added that the N15 billion budgeted for security for over a year amount to what the country is losing in few days to oil theft.

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“What we are trying to do is to ensure that we buy the necessary equipment for the security people operating in the region to perform their duty. We also want to make sure that more personnel are available.

“The terrain is a very difficult one: swampy terrain is a very difficult one. In one of the lines between Nembe and Brass, we are told that there are about 150 bunkering points and those have been vandalized by crude oil thieves,” said Jonah.

He added that the oil thieves always prevent the repair of the damaged pipelines as they usually claim it is their means of livelihood.

The Deputy Governor identified the security operatives fighting the oil theft to include soldiers, navy, air force, the police, civil Defence and even the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
EFCC, he said has the responsibility of prosecution of arrested oil thieves.

Jonah also told reporters that Nigeria oil production has risen to 2.4 million barrels per day up from 1.7 million barrels per day.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta state, who chaired the committee on criminal incidence of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta Region, had earlier given an update report to the meeting.

The Council approved the provision of the required logistics to support the security agencies to arresting crude oil theft in the country based on the report.

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