The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) says the country loses six billion dollars annually to crude oil theft.
Babatunde Ogun, PENGASSAN’s president, made this known at a joint forum with the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) in Lagos on Sunday.
He said that Nigeria also lost N105 billion to theft of refined products.
“This is a threat to our national security and our democracy. If this kind of huge amount of money gets into the wrong hands, it can destabilise our democracy and national security”, Ogun said.
He blamed the incessant loss of billions of naira on vandalism of crude oil and petroleum products’ pipeline.
He expressed regrets that security forces had been unable to arrest the unwholesome practice which led to fire disaster at Arepo in Ogun and the subsequent shut down of Nembe Creek Trunk line by Shell.
“An estimated 60,000 barrels per day of crude oil is stolen at Nembe Creek. Agip also suspended production in Bayelsa because 60 percent of its production of about 90 barrels is stolen per day”.
He said it was sad that no one had ever been caught or prosecuted even when the miscellaneous offence Act provides for life imprisonment for anyone who stole crude oil, petroleum product or vandalised pipelines.
He advised government to beef-up security and warned that the oil and gas sector would suspend production of crude oil and supply of petroleum products if nothing was done.
Ogun called on government to deal with the insecurity problem in view of the resurgence of kidnapping and continuous bombings.
The president urged governors and local government chairmen to channel their security votes to step-up intelligence gathering and surveillance to nip crime in the bud at the planning stage.