In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, Bello Matawalle, Minister of State for Defence, reported substantial progress in the Federal Government’s campaign against oil theft.
Practical achievements in curbing oil theft in the Niger Delta region have been realised.
Additionally, there is optimism that the country can reach a daily crude oil production of 1.9 million barrels by year-end.
“Before now, due to oil theft activities in the Niger Delta region, oil production dropped to about one million barrels per day.
“But with the Federal Government’s actions and the onslaught of the combined military against oil thieves, the production stands at 1.7 million barrels per day currently.
“We are hoping that at the end of this year, we will reach about 1.9 million barrels per day,” he said.
He revealed that measures had been put together at the Naval headquarters to detect and know all that was happening in the stream and all maritime areas.
“We are taking serious action. Operations have been conducted in that area. Most of the illegal panels were destroyed, most of the people were arrested, and, with the level we are at today, we are okay,” Matawalle said.
The Minister of Defence highlighted that President Bola Tinubu’s administration made substantial investments in state-of-the-art weaponry, ensuring the military is well-prepared to combat various crimes, including banditry and oil theft.
“I just returned from a trip to Turkey and you need to see the attack helicopters that we acquired.
“In fact, some of them are in Lagos now and it’s very special. And, as I said, this is not just for the Army alone, the Navy has its own, as well as the Air Force.
“So, with the coming of this government, the President has tried a lot by giving us all we need to work. So, we have no reason to complain and to fail Nigerians because, all we need, he has already provided for us.
“We have keyed into modern technology. We are ready for the challenges confronting us. Nigerians should be very proud of this government.
“We will be thrilled to work for the country. We want everyone to assess our performance steadily and come back here and thank the President, the Ministry of Defence, and our military for a job well done,” he said.
He underlined the preparedness of Nigerian soldiers to face contemporary challenges, thanks to the nation’s robust training institutions.
He added that these institutions play a pivotal role in ensuring that those entrusted with operating advanced equipment are well-equipped and proficient.
It’s worth noting that a group of soldiers received comprehensive training, both domestically and overseas, to familiarise themselves with the intricate aspects of the equipment before its deployment, showcasing the commitment to their roles and responsibilities.
“The institutions we have are capable. For example, if you go to the Defence College, you will see many people, including Germans.
“They send their army here to take training courses in our Defence College.
“Many other countries, including Japan, and some European countries, do the same.
“We have capable training institutions that can train the military, both inside and outside the country,” he said.