Security agencies and not the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd are complicit in the theft of the nation’s crude oil in the Niger Delta, a former President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Mr Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, has said.
According to him, the humongous stealing of the God-given oil resource on the territorial waters by some indigenes, those in government and their military and para-military collaborators is an organized economic crime against the people and the Nigerian state.
Apart from security agents’ involvement in the crime, he said the federal government is aware of the ongoing thievery with close to $1 million or $2 million required to get a tanker or vessel to steal the oil.
“These people from the region are funded in most cases by outsiders. The people who bring these big tankers are not Niger-Deltans. If they are Niger-Deltans they will be so few.
“May be those who have access to the government and government money, because to get a tanker, from here to Togo or Benin Republic that is where most of the stolen oil is sold and the government knows about these things, you need close to $1m or $2m to get a tanker and steal the oil,’’ Dokubo-Asari said.
Dokubo-Asari, who is the leader of the Niger Delta People’s Salvation Front, however, asked the security agencies to live up to their constitutional duty of guarding and protecting the country’s oil resources and its territorial waters.
More than 700,000 barrels of crude are stolen daily in the last six months valued at N2 to N3 trillion, according to the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mr Mele Kyari, also corroborated by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva.
The huge losses have resulted in a shortfall in the government’s revenue projection to fund the nation’s budget as well as the shortage in the 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings expected from crude oil sales.
Experts said it is also affecting the value of the nation’s currency – the Naira.
Speaking in Abuja, Dokubo-Asari said: “A group of people, an infinitesimal percentage of the people with people from outside the Niger-Delta go into alliance and become business partners.
“They steal these resources and in stealing these resources, they inflict environmental genocide on the people. They inflict economic genocide on the people because the mainstay of the economy of the Ijaw people is fishing.
“The discharged of their illegal activities doesn’t meet international standard of the oil industry and this affects the marine life, killing everything. Our people can no longer fish. These people are not up to one percent of our people.’’
Asari-Dokubo pointed out that some people had justified the activities of the criminals based on the plight of the people of Niger Delta.
“Now they need to justify that resources belong to us which is true and that we have the right to have access to these resources which is also true.
On the operational modalities of the oil thieves, the Niger Delta People’s Salvation Front leader said: “They fetch directly from the well head. This is where the mega money is. They will now take it to the mother vessel that will be like one million barrels they now load.
“Where is the security? Where is the Navy? Where is the Customs? Where is NIMASA? These are questions people should be able to ask.
“This doesn’t concern NNPC now because we always play this blame game. This one doesn’t concern the one that takes place at the discharging points at the terminals. At the discharging points, there are so many agencies military intelligence is theirs.
“We are talking of the one outside the official stealing of these resources. Now these vessels 2,000 to 3,000 tons. Say they have three shuttles vessels. They go from these manifolds or wellheads and discharges outside Nigerian territorial waters in the night.
“They start maybe around 8am and by 2pm they have finished loading they go outside the territorial waters and discharge. Now calculate, if it is a one million barrel or 50000 barrel tanker, calculate how many days, how many weeks and how many months it will take to fill a super tanker like that. “
“So, in all these periods, are we pretending that the security is not there? Are we pretending that the Navy is not there, NIMASA is not there?’’
Insisting that security agencies are culpable in oil theft, Asari-Dokubo also stated: “We should not be doing hide and seek as if this is rocket science. Or they don’t know what they are doing? They do.
“Resistance among insiders who are frustrating the fight against crude oil theft had made NNPCL CEO, Kyari, to raise the alarm on the threat to his life.’’
Persecondnews recalls that the NNPC’s efforts in the war against crude oil theft had yielded good results following an improvement in meeting OPEC crude oil quota by Nigeria.
In November, the NNPC in partnership with Tantita discovered another illegal connection made on the 48″ Forcados Export line where crude oil to the NNPC/Chevron OML 49 West Isan Platform was diverted.
Recently, the oil firm had intercepted a vessel that discharged stolen crude from Nigeria to Ghana while it also in October 2022 through the Pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Government Tompolo of the Niger Delta discovered about 56 illegal pipelines in the region.