From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited ( NNPCL) , Mela Kyari, has declared that Nigeria is in a bad situation over oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
Kyari who stated this before the Senate’s joint committees on Petroleum ( Downstream) , Petroleum ( Upstream ) and Gas , concurred with recommendation made by members, that capital punishment should be put in place for offenders .
According to him , the crime on oil theft in Nigeria has been on for many years and specifically about 22 years ago but the dimension and rate it assumed in recent time , was unprecedented .
He said: “As earlier stated as a result of the oil theft, Nigeria losses about 600, 000 barrels per day which is not healthy for the Nation’s economy and in particular , the legal operators in the field which had led to close down of some of their operational facilities.
” But in rising up to the highly disturbing challenge, NNPCL, has in recent time in collaboration with relevant security agencies , clamped down on the economic saboteurs.
” In the course of the clamp down within the last six weeks , 395 illegal refineries have been de – activated , 274 reservoirs destroyed , 1, 561 metal tanks destroyed , 49 trucks seized and the most striking of all, is the 4kilometeres illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation undetected for 9 solid years.”
He explained further to the committee that in addressing the menace , NNPCL carried out aerial survelance of the affected areas , and saw the economic saboteurs carrying out their activities unchallenged and unperturbed .
” The problem at hand is not only security but social as locals in most areas where the illegal refiners operate , unknowingly serve as their employees by mistaking them for operatives of licensed companies for oil exploration and production in the area,” he added .
He further added that being a problem requiring urgent solution , the Cambodia and Mexico models of nvolvement of non – state actors is being adopted by NNPCL with involvement of three private security companies .
“Is not abnormal to involve non – State actors for protection of oil pipelines and other critical infrastructure as done in Cambodia and Mexico which produced desired results,” he said .
On non – remittances from NNPCL into the federation account since January , Kyari told the committee members that the company is not owing Nigeria but Nigeria owing it N1.3 trillion
In his closing remarks , the Chairman of the joint committee, Mohammed Sabo Nakudu, told the NNPCL boss to get prepared for oversight functions on Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries claimed to have been rehabilitated .
Virtually all members of the three committees , attended the interactive session which lasted for about four hours .