Nigerian govt to start monitoring activities of security personnel with oil thieves – Timipre Sylva
Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, says the Federal Government will begin monitoring the connivance of the deployed security personnel with oil thieves.
Sylva had hinted at the FG’s efforts to end illegal oil bunkering.
Sylva said this during a programme tagged “Eagle Eye” on national television on Sunday.
According to him, the menace of oil theft has lingered for so long because security personnel deployed were probably not doing their job.
“Definitely, there are collaborators. Even during militancy, we had this issue within the military. So the government could not enforce the law effectively because of the activities of these collaborators,” he said.
“If you have something like a crime that has gone on for this long and a joint task force is in place to exterminate this crime and the crime has even gone worse, then definitely whoever is in charge is probably not doing their job.
“But at this time, the Federal Government is giving a note of warning and there will be other layers on top of those who are operating to monitor them because the problem is to send people to take care of the crime and if you just leave them on their own, then in many cases they become part of the crime.”
Sylva said the current unending vandalism of oil and gas pipelines was a metamorphosis of the militancy in the Niger Delta region — which although led to the training of several youths in the region — has added to the ongoing challenge.
According to Sylva, oil theft was not a creation of the Muhammadu Buhari administration as it has been in Nigeria for decades.
The minister said that the situation is no longer sustainable, pointing out that Nigeria is currently losing a lot of its production, a development that spurred the President to act on the matter.
On the recent assertion by Tony Elumelu, chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, that over 95 percent of Nigeria’s oil production is being stolen, Sylva said the figures were not for the country’s total oil output.
“I saw that tweet from Tony and I would say that Tony doesn’t have an overview of the whole industry. He is pumping his production into one particular pipeline, the TNP line and that is actually one of the most majorly impacted of our pipelines,”’ Sylva said.
“There are other pipelines that are not as impacted as the TNP, so he was speaking from his perspective, and he is not in a position to speak for the industry. So if you said he lost 90 percent of his production, I understand, which is a very small production compared to the national production, but that figure does not apply to the whole country.”
According to the minister, although he couldn’t say exactly how much oil is stolen, since many conditions impact how much is taken at every point in time, it could be up to 200,000 barrels per day, one day, and change the next.