Crude oil theft in Nigeria has reached the level of national emergency, just as the country loses over 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day to oil thieves.

This was revealed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva in Owerri, Imo State capital, when he briefed Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma on the menace of oil theft in the country.

Also at the meeting which took place at Government House, Owerri, on Monday, were Chief of Defence Staff, Lt Gen Lucky Irabor, GMD, Nigeria National Petroleum Limited, Melo Kyari and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector.

“The problem of crude oil theft has reached a level of national emergency and the situation cannot be handled in Abuja alone.

“It’s a national emergency because the theft has grown wings and has reached a very bad crescendo. This is because the theft are taking place in the Communities that host the oil pipelines and as a result, it has become necessary to involve the stakeholders, especially the host communities” the Minister said.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor called on the Imo State Government, the stakeholders and the Communities to “be involved in the fight against oil theft to a reasonable percentage and leave the rest for the Armed Forces,” assuring that “the Armed Forces are always available to receive further support to fight banditry and all other forms of criminality in Nigeria and Imo State in particular.”

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma expressed worries by Stakeholders over banditry and oil theft in the South East and Imo State in particular and thanked the Armed Forces for their concerted efforts in the fight against the crime in the past years.

Uzodimma described the visit as a very important one “meant to discuss national issues bordering on national security, economy, national peace, and unity of Nigeria.”

He acknowledged that two years ago, oil production in Imo State and in most places where oil theft was a business, was almost at a bottom level and commended security agencies for their dexterity and efforts in the fight that has brought the production back to near normal.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here