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Crude oil theft, vandalism: Sylva, Kyari, Service Chiefs, others on morale-boosting visit to frontline troops

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has led a high-powered delegation of service chiefs, GCEO of NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyar and other top management staff of the oil industry on a morale-boosting visit to the frontline troops combating crude oil theft and vandalism of hydrocarbon assets.

The visit was to appreciate the gallantry of the Nigerian Armed Forces on the fight against crude oil theft in 2022 which has resulted in significant improvement in National Crude Oil and Gas production output.

Persecondnews reports that on the delegation are the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Auwal Zubairu Gambo, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission Chief Executive, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, and Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency Chief Executive, Engr. Farouk Ahmed.

Others are Executive Vice–President, Upstream, Engr Adokiye Tombomieye, and the Chief Upstream Investment Officer, Mr Bala Wunti.

At the pre-departure meeting, the minister commended the collaboration among all stakeholders, especially the growing synergy between the Armed office and the Private Security Contractors, the Community element of the industry-wide security collaboration.

“The nation is seeing a resurgence in the production output of hydrocarbons. This positive trend has generated much optimism among observers in the international community beyond the shores of Nigeria.’’

On his part, the Chief of Defence Staff thanked stakeholders for their support and cooperation, noting that without their support the gains recorded would have been difficult to achieve.

He particularly acknowledged the role of the Private Security Contractors, whom he described as playing a significant role in providing security intelligence, physical surveillance, and identification of criminals in the local communities.

At the first stop, the delegation visited the 3 Battalion Nigerian Army, Effurun, with the Chief of Defence Staff and the minister charging the troops to ensure zero tolerance for crude oil theft in the Niger Delta.

The delegation also visited the Nigerian Navy Ship Delta where the base commander received them.

In his welcome remarks, the Base Commander appreciated the delegation for the morale-boosting visit and briefed them about some challenges faced by the Navy on the frontline, including the adoption of more sophisticated techniques by criminals to avoid detection in the already difficult terrain.

He also listed the delay in the prosecution of arrested vessels that overburden the jetty facilities of the Navy.

An array of arrested vessels ranging from self-propelled barges to ships and wooden boats of various sizes could be seen clearly competing for space with operational vessels at the NNS Delta jetty.

The commander noted that the challenge of storing seized exhibits and arrested vessels awaiting prosecution was common to all law enforcement agencies combating crude oil theft.

 

Responding, the NNPCL GCEO, Kyari disclosed that the Federal High Court had set up special courts in all affected jurisdictions to hasten the trial of suspects and prosecution of offenders.

Persecondnews reports that before departing the NNS Delta, the delegation watched the footage of recent raids on illegal refineries in Ndoro and Ekubene while appreciation plaques were also presented to the CDS, CNS, and the GCEO of NNPC. At NNS Pathfinder in Port Harcourt, the delegation toured the jetty area of the facility.

The Base Commander, who presented the recent additions to the NNS Pathfinder fleet, said they would be deployed soon to strengthen the operations of the Nigerian Navy.

Seized vessels were also anchored at the jetty while wooden boats arrested with illegal cargoes of crude oil were crushed as a result of storage constraints.

 

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