The National Security Adviser, retired AIG Nuhu Ribadu, has commended the spirited efforts of the government security forces, community security contractors, and the NNPC Ltd in stepping up the fight against crude oil theft and economic sabotage in the oil-rich region.
According to Ribadu, the organized theft only profits a few citizens he described as criminals and bandits.
He spoke after a ground assessment of illegal connection points and the destruction of illegal refineries by a delegation, led by the Minister of Defence comprised the Ministers of State for Defence, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the National Security Adviser, retired AIG Nuhu Ribadu and the NNPC Ltd leadership team, Commission and Authority Chief Executives.
Others are the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Air Staff, representative of the Chief Army Staff, Commander Operation Delta Safe, and the representative of the DG DSS, SA to the President on Energy.
Persecondnews reports that worried by the high scale of oil theft in the Niger Delta, President Bola Tinubu had dispatched a high-powered delegation of security chiefs, ministers of oil and gas and the NNPCL GCEO to the region for stakeholder engagements and on-the spot assessment.
RIbadu, reiterating the message of the leader of the delegation, Ribadu said: “Enough is enough, the environment is being destroyed, livelihoods are being destroyed and the Federation is deprived of revenue capable of shoring up the economy and strengthening the Naira.
“With recharged determination to build on recent success and ride on the good will of the new administration to eliminate Crude Oil theft in the Niger Delta region, Mr President dispatched a high-powered delegation for stakeholders engagement and on-the-spot assessment of the progress of the war on crude oil theft.’’
Persecondnews recalls that the visit to the region came barely 24 hours after an inspection of the Port Harcourt Refinery and Petrochemicals Complex to assess start-up readiness by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and the NNPCL team led by the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Mele Kyari, the Executive Vice President Upstream, Engr. Adokiye Tombomieye, and the Chief Upstream Investment Officer, Mr. Bala Wunti.
The joint mission started at the Nigerian Airforce Base Port Harcourt from where the delegation proceeded to the Rivers State Government House to pay a courtesy call on Gov. Siminalayi Fubara.
Addressing newsmen after a closed-door meeting with the governor, Defence Minister Muhammed Badaru reeled out the objectives of the delegation and the charge by Mr President.
Upon return to the Airforce base, the delegation embarked on an overflight over Owaza, Bille, Azuzuama, Ahoada, Rumuekepe Ebocha, Abacheke, Egbema, Ohaji, and Koko communities of Abia, Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo and Delta states.
At Owaza, the team visited the Trans-Niger Pipeline Right of Way where an array of dismantled illegal connections were observed.
During the aerial assessment, the delegation gained first-hand insights into the progress of the war on crude oil theft in the Niger Delta. They observed clandestine refineries, illegal bunkering operations, and the scale of environmental devastation, collectively translating into severe economic losses for the country.
The visit was also an opportunity for the delegation to show their presence in the communities and assess the gravity of the situation and the critical need to strengthen collaboration for a comprehensive solution.
The Community Security Contractors were also on ground to brief the delegation on their recent successes and the challenges they are facing.
The joint participation of the Ministers, the National Security Adviser, Service Chiefs, Oil and Gas Industry Regulators, and the NNPCL leadership, however, underscores the unity of purpose among various stakeholders to combat the large-scale economic sabotage holding the entire country to ransom.