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Crude Oil Theft: Uduaghan, Stakeholders Proffer Solutions

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 15, (THEWILL) â€' Governments at all levels, multinational oil companies, security agencies and host communities have been urged to play more active roles in stopping the menace of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta.

Delta State Governor, Dr.
Emmanuel Uduaghan and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry at the second Delta State Oil and Gas Industry Stakeholders' Conference in Effurun on Tuesday observed that crude oil theft has dire consequences not only on the revenue of the nation but the environmental degradation occasioned by the act has far reaching future implications.

Governor Uduaghan, who is the chairman of the National Committee against Crude Oil theft, observed that the revenue of the nation has continued to dwindle due to the activities of illegal bunkerers.

But he noted with dismay that the sentiments and worry expressed about dwindling revenues were not extended to the devastation caused to the environment.

According to him, only communities bear the brunt of the environmental impact of oil exploration and theft with beneficiaries of oil revenue only interested in what gets to them at the end of the month, noting that were theft to be stopped now it would still take about 50 years to remediate the devastated environment.

He pleaded with host communities to have a sense of ownership of government projects and join the campaign against illegal bunkering while challenging the multinational oil companies to ensure that there was no complicity of their personnel or contractors in the crime.

Governor Uduaghan also tasked the relevant security agencies to redouble their efforts by properly policing and patrolling the exit points of Escravos, Forcados and Ogheye where the products are likely being transported to waiting vessels in the high sea.

Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade in his presentation urged the government, the judiciary, oil companies, communities and the security agencies to play active roles in the fight against oil theft.

He called on the government to strengthen legislations against illegal bunkering, increase funding to security agencies, facilitate development of host communities and intensify campaign against the trend.

A representative of Shell, the Manager, Ogoni Restoration Project, Augustine Igbuku among other measures called for increased campaigns and engagements, motivation of security agencies and effective prosecution of oil thieves.

Igbuku explained that Shell has embarked on concrete steps in combating the menace, ranging from sensitisation campaigns, burying pipelines deeper beneath the surface and covering them with concrete slabs.

Commandant of the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, Dr.
Ade Abolurin on his part while pleading with communities to desist from the act urged the regulators to be more responsive, the judiciary to ensure speedy trials and also called on the multinational oil companies to ensure best practices in their operations and relationship with their host communities.

Participants and resource persons at the conference in their separate remarks urged the government to demonstrate the political will by bringing the barons behind the illicit trade to book, adding that the security agencies and oil companies also needed to demonstrate honesty and integrity in the crusade.

The State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mr.
Mofe Pirah had explained that the conference with the theme: 'Security Oil and Gas Investment in Delta State: the Role of Stakeholders', was aimed at proffering solution to the menace of oil theft.