Bunkering: FG commissions 8 gunboats to combat oil theft

As part of efforts to end the menace of crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism, the federal government has commissioned eight gun boats for the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to wage a full scale war against the perpetrators.

According to the government, the move became necessary to strengthen the combative capacity of NSCDC Anti Vandalism Squad in stemming the tide of huge revenue loss to the Nation’s oil sector.

Performing the official commission of the gunboats in Portharcourt, Rivers state, Tuesday, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, described the incidences of oil theft as an organized crime ridding the nation of accrued revenue running to million of dollars annually.

In a statement signed by the NSCDC spokesman, DCC Olusola Odumosu, Aregbesola 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.

The Minister of Interior decried the negative impacts of crude oil theft and oil pipeline vandalism in the nation.

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 minister further said the NNSCDC as the lead agency in Safeguarding Critical National Assets and Infrastructure is mandated to use the available logistics provided by the government to reduce crime rate and by extension take the war against crude oil theft to the camp of the enemies.

Also speaking, the NSCDC Commandant General, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, said the 8 newly commissioned gunboats will boost the morale of the Corps in combating the menace of Crude Oil theft along the waterways.

“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 constitute 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”, the CG said.

He said a marching order has been issued to all Zonal Commanders, State Commandants and Heads of Antivandal Unit across formations to be battle ready with a renewed vigour to stamp out oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the nation.

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