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Uduaghan, at UN, says persisting oil theft, threat to international peace

Source: pointblanknews.com
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The persistence of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region where over

400,000 barrels per day are stolen may threaten world peace and democracy

if concerted action is not taken to curb it, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan,

governor of Delta State, has said.
Speaking at an African Business Roundtable-organized workshop on combating

emerging threats held on the sidelines of the on-going United Nations

General Assembly in New York, Uduaghan said with 90 percent of the stolen

oil exported, the cash return is enough to empower individuals and

organizations engaged in the theft to destabilize democracies in the West

African sub-region.
The Delta State governor who is also the chairman of the Committee on

Crude Oil Theft set up by the Federal Government said the growing

insurgency by extremist islamist groups and violence on the civil

population may not be unconnected with the huge cash outlay that cannot be

traced due to crude oil theft.
He called on the international community to create a platform where stolen

crude oil can be tracked and disbursement of proceeds adequately monitored

as such funds usually fuel the acquisition of small arms.

He said the balance 10 percent of 400,000 barrels stolen daily is

processed locally at the modular refineries spread across the Niger Delta

region, noting that the pockets of persons arrested from those locations

have only token effect in combating the scourge. Extant laws and

legislations for prosecuting suspects, Uduaghan said, are grossly

inadequate, noting that a strong legal framework needs to be created so

that kingpins and promoters of crude oil theft can be prosecuted.

He said his committee has embarked on the sensitization of security

agencies on the need for them to be alive to their responsibilities while

also encouraging international oil companies (IOCs) to carry out corporate

social responsibilities in their areas of operation. The governor said

IOCs must improve on the technology deployed in the laying of pipelines as

the prevailing style of laying them on the surface is no longer

acceptable.
As part of his government's strategy to curb oil theft in Delta State,

Uduaghan said communities are being empowered through the programmes put

in place by the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission

(DESOPADEC).
The governor was accompanied on the trip by the Commissioner for

Information, Mr. Chike C. Ogeah and his finance counterpart, Mr. Ken

Okpara.
Other officials on Uduaghan's entourage are the commissioners for health,

Dr. Joseph Otumara; water resources, Dr. Chris Oghenechovwen; higher

education, Professor Hope Eghagha and environment, Chief Frank Omare.

Others are the commissioner for agriculture, Mr. Misan Ukubeyinje;

commissioner for MDGs, Queen Mother Victoria Ikenchuku; commissioner for

Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Mr.

Timi Tonye; the governor's senior special adviser on foreign relations who

coordinated the UN assessment project, Mr. Oma Djeba; chairman of

DESPADEC, Mr. Oritsuwa Kpogho and the members of the Nigerian Business

community.
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