Oil theft and illegal pipe connections have speead to Abia State, a situation assessment delegation deployed in the Niger Delta by President Bola Tinubu discovered on Saturday.
From the illegal connection discovered at Owaza in Abia State, Nigeria loses an average of 7.2 million dollars monthly, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. stated on Sunday.
It added that clandestine refineries, illegal bunkering operations and environmental devastation the team saw collectively translated into severe economic losses for the nation.
The delegation, led by the Minister of Defence, Malam Muhammed Badaru has service chiefs and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, oil, Senator Lokpobiri Lokpobiri as members.
Other members are the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Gas, Mr Ekperipe Ekpo, the National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu and the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd., Malam Mele Kyari.
Also in the team are the Commander of “Operation Delta Safe’’, Rear Admiral Olusegun Ferreira, operatives of security agencies and chief executive officers of regulatory agencies in the oil and gas sector.
The team visited the Trans-Niger Pipeline Right of Way in Owaza, Abia where an array of dismantled illegal connections were observed.
“We are ready to do whatever it takes for a peaceful Niger-Delta. Cease and desist from crude oil theft and economic sabotage’’, Malam Badaru stated at the site.
In his remarks, Kyari said while oil theft in vessels could be tracked, oil-bearing communities must play a vital role in curbing oil theft within their communities.
“Oil theft is one of the reasons why Nigeria cannot meet her OPEC daily production quota’’, he said.
Also speaking at the site, Chief Security Officer of Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd., Mr Patrick Godwin said some arrests had been made and culprits arraigned.
In his comments, Ribadu applauded security agencies, community security contractors and NNPC Ltd. for stepping up the fight against oil theft and economic sabotage.
“The environment and livelihoods are being destroyed while the federation is deprived of revenue capable of shoring up the economy and strengthening the Naira”, he said.