Jonathan, military chiefs, governors, others in crucial meeting over worsening crude oil theft

Service chiefs Nigeria
Nigeria Service Chiefs

Governors of affected states and ministers were also at the meeting.

President Goodluck Jonathan has charged the governors in oil producing states, service chiefs, and multinational companies to work out an aggressive approach to tackling crude oil theft.

The president gave the task at a closed-door meeting on Thursday night at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting was attended by Vice President Namadi Sambo, as well as governors of Akwa Ibom and Delta states, Godswill Akpabio and Emmanuel Uduaghan, respectively.

Related ministers, service chiefs and major players in the oil sector were also in the meeting.

In an interview with State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, said the focus of the meeting was to find ways of ending oil theft.

She said it was agreed that a much more aggressive approach was needed to be taken to address the challenge.

“We are continuing with what has been done but we are becoming much more aggressive.

“Earlier today, we met with a number of multinationals; we have come up with various pointers which must be addressed in an in-depth manner over the next 10 days.

“Technical team is going to meet across all the stakeholders; they will break into various committees because as I said, it is many pronged and must be addressed with a multi-pronged approach.

“Over the next 10 days we will form the relative committees, they will meet and we will move to implement very aggressively,” she said.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke expressed dismay at the alarming rate of oil theft, which she said, had negative effect on the nation’s resources. She said the meeting was called with all relevant stakeholders to mainly address crude oil theft.

“At this point in time, which as you know, over the last few months has become quite critical to the point that it is affecting our excess crude and revenue accruing to the federation account from the proceeds of our output.

“As you can see, Mr. President has called governors of affected states, all the multinationals, multinational chiefs, all the service chiefs as well as NPDC, NNPC and other ministers who are related stakeholders,” she said.

She said the meeting has been very fruitful and “has begun intense deliberations which we have been carrying out in other ways and means over the last years or so, particularly, with the Navy and the JTF.”

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“Our intent is that we focus even more robustly in many different ways in trying to come to term with and to beat this issue which is a many pronged issue.

“It is a very complex issue at many levels and we are trying to come up with solutions which will address the issue at the various levels over the short and medium terms at this time,” she said.

Many of the oil majors have shut down crude and gas pipelines in various Niger Delta states due to theft and sabotage. Shell on Thursday announced the closure of a 150,000 barrels per day crude pipeline in Rivers State. The company recently announced an unprecedented rise in crude theft and sabotage on its facilities.

Nigeria is estimated to lose about $6 billion annually from crude oil theft.

While speaking, Mr. Uduaghan said that the alarming rate of oil theft in the country needed urgent solutions because of its effect on revenue generation for the country.

He said the effects of the oil theft on the economy had become so dire because of the monolithic oil dependent economy the country was running.

“We should look forward to the reduction in the quantity of crude oil that is being stolen from Nigeria. The challenge we have now is that a lot more oil is being stolen than we used to have and that is affecting the economy of the country as less fund is coming to the treasury,” he said.

“You know that our economy is still dependent on oil and until we move it away from oil, we will still continue to depend on oil. That is why some of us are emphasising the issue of creating an economy beyond oil and that is what we call in Delta, `Beyond Oil’.

“What we have done today is to try and work out some strategies on how to reduce the quantity of oil that is being stolen from various areas.

“For us in Delta, we have our own strategy, which has been working. All we need to do is to step up the structure that we have on ground that we have been using to deal with the problem,” he said.

The governor alleged that oil theft was perpetrated by members of the local community aided by the multinational companies. He, however, said that the issue could best be resolved by collective efforts, using proactive measures.

The Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, were also in attendance.



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