The Chairman, Federal Government’s special investigative panel on oil theft/losses, Major General Barry Ndiomu, has called for the review of security architecture in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
He also advocated the deployment of technology to protect oil pipelines as well as legal reforms that would provide stiffer penalties to culpable entities involved in oil theft.
Nigeria has recorded an increase in the rate of oil theft in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. In September 2022, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited said that the country lost 470,000 barrels of crude oil monthly amounting to $700 million to oil theft.
However, Ndiomu said these reviews would put an end to the “criminal enterprise” of oil theft in the country.
Ndiomu, who is also the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, spoke at a parley organised by the panel in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said, “There should be deliberate conversations to drive legal reforms that would provide stiffer penalties to culpable entities involved in oil theft.
“There is also a need for the application of modern technologies to protect oil assets, and a review of security architecture in the region to stem the sophisticated network of complicity between elements from the host communities, security agencies, and industry players.
“Nigeria’s crude oil production had plunged to a 13-year low of 800,000bpd.
Frank discussions must, however, be held to enable the country to crack the code and put an end to the criminal enterprise of oil theft.”
The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), said the government was committed to addressing the issue of oil theft with a comprehensive approach, adding that crude oil theft is arguably the biggest issue in Nigeria.