End crude oil theft by May 29, Buhari orders security agencies
With Nigeria estimated to be losing about $4 billion annually to oil theft and pipeline vandalism, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered security agencies deployed to the Niger Delta region to end the menace before he leaves office on May 29, 2023.
The President gave the order yesterday while addressing troops of the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe, in Effurun, Delta State and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, respectively.
Represented by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, the President said that the government can no longer tolerate the criminality.
A statement by Chief Sylva’s media aide in Abuja, quoted him as saying that “Mr President has mandated us to eradicate crude oil theft. He has directed that no liter of crude oil should be stolen in the country again especially in the South South.
“He wants crude oil thieves completely eliminated by May 29 2023 as one of the legacies of his government. This is the message from Mr President. We are not where we want to be but we are happy at what we are seeing”, he said.
He noted that prior to the renewed efforts of the government in tackling the menace of crude oil thieves, the nation’s daily crude oil production was about 900,000 barrels per day but the scaled up security efforts of the government has helped to shore up production to about 1.5 million barrels per day.
“I am happy to hear that morale is high here. We were here a few months ago to hand over the mandate of Mr President to you and that is to ensure that there is zero tolerance for crude oil theft in the region. We want to thank you for what you have done so far but there is still more to be done for us to achieve 100%,” Sylva said.
He noted that “Nigerians have noticed what you are doing, the managers in the oil industry have noticed what you are doing and indeed the international community have noticed what you are doing. We are happy at the improvement we are seeing in the oil and gas sector.
“We have seen the significant improvement and that’s why we are here on the mandate of the president to thank you for what you are doing. He has said there should be no reason why we (Nigeria) should be losing an essential commodity that is the life wire of the country”.
In his remark, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Mallam Mele Kyari disclosed that the Federation Government has set up a special court to expedite the trials of criminal elements involved in oil thief and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region.
Kyari, who also expressed gratitude to the troops for the excellent work they were doing to restore confidence in the pipelines said he was sure that full confidence will be restored in crude oil production in the shortest possible time.
He also expressed confidence in the collaboration between security agencies and the private security company contracted by the NNPC Limited in the campaign to restore full confidence in the sector.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor in his remark urged the troops to remain steadfast in the campaign to stamp out crude oil theft in the country
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