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Oil Theft: Investors Evade Nigeria, NNPC laments, seeks EFCC’s Support

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has lamented that no one is ready to invest in the oil sector due to the menace of oil theft while seeking the help of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in tackling the menace.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, made the appeal at an interactive session with the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Monday.

In statement by the NNPC spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye, the company’s helmsman was said to have spoken about the efforts by the company to eradicate corruption from its system, to stem crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Ripples Nigeria reports that a few months ago, Tajudeen Abbas, Speaker of the House of Representatives while inaugurating an ad hoc committee to investigate the menace of crude oil theft had raised an alarm that the country has lost N16.25 trillion to crude oil theft in 11 years.

Speaking on Monday during the meeting, Kyari had contended that going by the volume of oil stolen daily and the brazenness with which the perpetrators operate, crude oil theft was the most humongous and virulent economic crime in Nigeria that must attract the attention of the EFCC.

He said, “As we continue to do our best to deepen transparency and stamp out corruption from the system, there is one big challenge that you will need to help us with, Mr. Chairman. That challenge is crude theft. It fits into everything you have said — the people, the asset, the opportunity, and the absence of deterrence.

“We have deactivated 6,409 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region. Today, we have disconnected up to 4,846 illegal pipes connected to our pipelines, that is out of 5,543 of such illegal connection points. That means there are a vast number of such connections that we have not removed.

“These things don’t just happen from the blues. They happen in communities and locations we all know. As we remove one illegal connection, another one comes up. It is sad, Mr. Chairman.”

According to him, this kind of oil theft does not happen anywhere else in the world.

“When we say illegal connections, they are not invisible things, they are big pipes that require some level of expertise to be installed. Some of them are of the same size as the trunk line itself. No one would produce crude oil knowing full well that it is not going to get to the terminal. That is why nobody is putting money into the business. So, you can’t grow production.”

“I believe, personally, that the very purpose of your commission is to curtail economic crimes, and there is no bigger economic crime of this scale anywhere else than what is happening in this area,” the GCEO lamented.

Speaking, the EFCC boss, Olukoyede, was said to have expressed satisfaction with NNPC’s commitment to issues of ethics and code of conduct.

He challenged the management to ensure that the codes of ethics and regulations are complemented with monitoring and enforcement to enhance deterrence.

SOURCE: RipplesNigeria