As part of efforts to end the menace of crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism, the federal government has commissioned eight gun boats for the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to wage a full scale war against the perpetrators, vowing to bring down its might on vandals and oil thieves who are sabotaging the nation’s economy.
According to a statement signed by the Media Adviser to the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Sola Fasure, Aregbesola made the declaration at the commissioning of eight gunboats acquired for use by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Tuesday.
“Those who steal crude oil not only deny the country of the much needed revenue, they sell the stolen goods at discounted prices, well below the market value. This black market creates a glut and forces down the official price. They have therefore made Nigeria to suffer the double jeopardy of loss in revenue and drop in value of the product.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has given us the resources and the marching order to take the war to them. As a step in this direction, the Federal Government is taking adequate steps to equip relevant security agencies and, by extension, the NSCDC, which is the lead agency in the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure,” the minister stated.
The Minister further stated that the government is not oblivious of the dangers crude oil theft portends for the country, stating that the value of such theft is estimated to be in its billions.
“In the latest estimate, billions of dollars are lost to oil thieves and vandals. There is no gainsaying the fact that the Federal Government is committed and determined to curb the menace of oil theft which is bleeding the economy mindlessly, a development which has led to a drop in the earnings of the government. This unhealthy development has equally led to environmental pollution and other health hazards recorded in places where crude and refined products have been unleashed on the environment from broken pipes.
“Government is not oblivious of the danger the above scenario poses to national security and socio-economic development. No responsible government would sit down helplessly and watch this reckless display of brigandage by a few unpatriotic and criminally minded individuals who put personal interest above any other consideration,” Ogbeni Aregbesola informed the public.
Speaking at the event, the Commandant General of the NSCDC, Abubakar Audi, declared the Corps’ readiness to put an end to pipeline vandalism and pillaging of the nation’s resources.
“Let me use this medium to assure the Federal Government and the good people of this great country, that the Corps is determined more than ever before and fully committed to the war against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering and will therefore make judicious use of this operational equipment to take the war to the doorstep of these economic brigands and saboteurs.
“I have directed continued strengthening of effective synergy with the military, relevant sister agencies as well as other stakeholders in our avowed commitment to checkmate the ugly trend,” the Commandant General stated.