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Escalating oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta area are caused by three main reasons – severe labour crisis, inaccessibility of petroleum product and defective patrol vessels — according to committee set up by the government.

The information was made public by Admiral John Jonah Atuama (rtd), the deputy governor of Bayelsa state, at the end of the 67th meeting of NEC which held on Thursday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Presenting the report of the National Economic Council (NEC) ad hoc committee on crude oil theft prevention and control  Mr. Jonah said: “Inadequate operational patrol vessels to conduct patrol of entire pipeline network; massive unemployment among youths in the region attributed to increasing incidence of theft and vandalism; and non-availability of petroleum products in the Niger Delta Area.”
Three key recommendations to the government

After consulting with the Armed Forces, the Joint Task Force, oil companies, oil producing states and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps  the ad hoc committee came up with the following solutions:

– Procurement and deployment of appropriate technology in surveillance and combat vehicles/boats in difficult terrain (that would drastically reduce incidents of oil thefts and illegal bunkering and this would ensure full benefits of uninterrupted supply)

– Establishment of special courts for speedy prosecution of oil bunkerers and oil theft suspects

– Engagement of traditional rulers to sensitize their communities on the criminal and environmental dangers of oil theft
Among other recommendations were:

– To increase the refining capacity of the domestic refineries through relocation/co-location of smaller cost-efficient refineries within 12-24 months

–  To focus on restoring upstream production by positively engaging host communities

– To improve government funding in the upstream sector where funding has been less than 30%

Earlier today the Niger Delta militants have bombed a section of the Escravos gas trunkline behind salvation city, near Ogbe-Ijoh in Warri South West local government area of Delta state.

President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Royal Dutch Shell Group team to discuss insurgency in the Niger Delta region, on Friday, May 20.

During the meeting he urged the militant groups, aggrieved persons and communities to drop weapons and sit down at the negotiating table for the review of the Amnesty Programme initiated by the Yar’Adua administration.
8:45 AM

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