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Oil thieves face 21 year jail terms – FG

By The Citizen
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The Federal Government has approved plans to commence prosecution of about 500 suspects detained over oil theft.

Briefing State House correspondents yesterday after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the State House, the Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, stated that those to be prosecuted risk 21 years jail term without any option of fine since they would be tried under the existing Miscellaneous Offences Act

Uduaghan said that a legal task force headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, with representatives from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the Armed Forces, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, the Police, the State Security Service, SSS, and other related agencies will be charged with the task of achieving successful prosecution of the oil thieves.

The council said this would be an interim measure against crude oil theft as the task force would be in operation for one year with effect from this month. Members of the task force are to be announced by the AGF on Monday.

The council also said this would be an interim measure against crude oil theft as the task force would be in operation for one year with effect from this month. Members of the task force are to be announced by the AGF on Monday.

After the one year interim measure, the council said prosecution of established cases would continue and all convictions given wide publicity.

Uduaghan added that the decision to set up the legal task force was taken to stop the daily theft of about 400,000 barrels of oil which translates into losses of N7.35bn daily loss to the country based on international market price of $117 per barrel.

The losses have resulted in drastic reduction in the revenue accruing to the government which now faced the risk of being unable to meet its financial obligations including payment of workers' salaries.

The governor stated that a committee headed by Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio with Secretary to the National Planning Commission, the chief executive of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, and a representative of the Inspector-General of Police as members has been mandated to meet with the AGF towards strengthening the extant deterrence policy by ensuring more arrests and convictions of the oil thieves.

The governor added that the council asked the governors of Bayelsa and Delta states to meet with the concerned oil majors and the Joint Task Force, JTF, to work out modalities for the effective repair of the Nembe and Trans Niger pipelines, which are currently shut.

He explained that Shell alone was losing 300,000 bpd due to shutdown of their operations in Bayelsa and Rivers states.