The JTF said its efforts have led to a reduction of daily oil theft.
The Defence Headquarters on Thursday said crude oil theft from Shell’s facilities in the Niger-Delta on Thursday said crude oil theft from Shell’s facilities in the had dropped from 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 23,000.
The Chief of Training and Operations, Major General Lawrence Ngubane announced this in Bile, Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers during a tour to some operational bases of the Joint Task Force (JTF).
Mr. Ngubane, who held a closed-door meeting with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), said the decline was due to the JTF’s renewed strategy and commitment to the fight against illegal oil bunkering.
“The level of oil theft has come down drastically; SPDC informed me that oil theft has reduced from 60,000 bpd to 23, 000 bpd,” he said.
Shell declined to confirm the figure by the Army chief. Its spokesman, Tony Okonedo, said he is “unaware of that meeting and cannot comment on it.”
He also declined to give the current daily loss of crude to oil thieves by Shell.
The Army Chief also said the government’s desire is to go below the 23,000 figure.
“The Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs are doing everything possible to ensure that oil theft is reduced to the barest minimum in the interest of the country,” he said.
Mr. Ngubane said the soldiers were contributing their quota to the progress of the nation’s economy through their commitment in eliminating illegal oil bunkering in the area.
According to him, if Nigerians must get quality social services such as healthcare, electricity, roads and education, soldiers must protect pipelines from vandals and not involve themselves in corruption.
He said any soldier found involved in corrupt practice would be sanctioned in accordance with the Army Code of Conduct.
“Nigerian Army is known and respected globally for its professionalism and as such, would strive to sustain our positive rating,” he said.
Mr. Ngubane said more gunboats, kit and other equipment would be provided to intensify the fight against illegal oil bunkering and sundry crimes in the region.
The SPDC had on March 4, claimed that the company was losing about 60,000 barrels of crude oil to criminals daily.
It threatened to shut down its operations in some parts of Rivers and Bayelsa if efforts were not made by security agencies to combat the illegal activities.