President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, deployed the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), MallamMeleKyari, as well as the Chief of DefenceStaff, General Lucky Irabor, to assess the level of oil theft in the Niger Delta.
The development followed public outrage against the massive stealing of Nigeria’s crude oil, which had hobbled the country’s ability to meet the quota allocated by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had on Monday lamented the unprecedented rate of oil theft recorded in recent times and its debilitating effect on government revenue and accretion to reserves.
The governor’s comment came a day after THISDAY newspaper reported similar concerns expressed by the co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer of SeplatEnergy Plc, Mr Austin Avuru, who called for a state of emergency in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
He revealed that up to 80 per cent of oil pumped in the country, particularly in the East, is stolen.
Avuru spoke a few days after a businessman and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr Tony Elumelu, also bemoaned the worsening state of the industry, stressing that about 95 per cent of oil production does not get to the terminal.
Earlier, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operators of the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) pipeline, had threatened to exit the facility due to incessant vandalism, perennial sabotage and outright theft.