BusinessDay

Oil theft: We’re finding lasting solutions- Ndiomu

Barry Ndiomu, chairman of the Federal Government’s investigative panel on oil theft and losses, has said that the special panel is committed to its mandate of investigating and identifying perpetrators of the act, as well as proffering lasting solutions.

Ndiomu, also the interim administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), said this when he led members of the panel on a strategic visit to the Delta State government on Monday.

“We have begun visiting sites, oil platforms, and engaging key stakeholders that would provide useful information to aid their task,” he said.

Data gleaned from the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency showed that oil companies operating in Nigeria lost N695 billion worth of crude oil to spills suspected to emanate from sabotaged pipelines.

However, Ndiomu said that there have been remarkable improvements in crude oil production in the country and attributed it to the recent engagement by the Federal Government and Tantita Security Services Limited.

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According to him, the security firm owned by an ex-agitator, Government Ekpemukolo, popularly known as Tompolo, has been able to track oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Months after his involvement, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited uncovered an illegal four-kilometre pipeline from Forcados in Delta State to the sea and a loading port that was part of an elaborate crude theft operation for the last nine years.

In his response, Ifeanyi Okowa, the Delta State governor, called on all stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to work together to curb crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

The governor, represented by Kingsley Otuaro, his deputy, commended the Federal Government for setting up the panel and admitted that the nation was losing billions of naira due to oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

He said that the losses incurred by the nation due to oil theft and pipeline vandalism were alarming and are grossly affecting the country’s mono-economy, which is highly dependent on proceeds from crude oil.

“We will furnish the panel with relevant information that would assist in carrying out its assignment, and my administration has taken deliberate steps by providing structures to help curb the phenomenon of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft,” he said.

The investigative panel on oil theft and losses was inaugurated in December 2022 by Babagana Monguno, the national security adviser.

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