FG seeks military’s help over crude oil theft
Disturbed by the adverse impact of oil theft on the economy, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), yesterday, sought military involvement to tame the menace.
Last month, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) said a few Nigerians, described as elite, may be stealing yearly about 42.25 million barrels of the commodity worth $3.6 billion at the prevailing price of $85 per barrel. π
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) also said the country lost 42.25 million barrels of crude oil to theft in 2019.
NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD), Mele Kyari, linked highly-placed Nigerians to the economic sabotage.
But NUPRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Gbenga Komolafe, during a courtesy call on the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, in Lagos, insisted that unless the military plays key roles in the sector, new investments might remain elusive.
Soliciting support of the armed forces to tackle the challenge, Komolafe said the move was part of his strategic engagements with critical stakeholders.
He reminded his host that his organisation was responsible for the technical, operational and commercial regulation of the upstream sector geared at optimising the benefits of the nation’s hydrocarbon deposits.
The NUPRC boss reiterated the critical role of the CDS to the success of upstream investments in the oil and gas industry.
He, therefore, appealed for stakeholders’ collaboration to deal with all security issues affecting the sector.
Responding, Irabor assured Komolafe of the support of the armed forces in the fight against oil thieves.
The CDS, who equally deplored the development, added that the military was on top of the situation, as current operational strategies were targeted at addressing the problem.