The Federal Government has acquired eight gunboats to combat crude oil theft.
Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola, who spoke at the inauguration of the gunboats acquired for use by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday, August 30, urged security agencies to collaborate to end the scourge.
The statement read;
“Those who steal crude oil deny the country of the much-needed revenue and sell the stolen goods at discounted prices, well below the market value. This black market creates a glut and forces down the official price. They have therefore made Nigeria suffer double jeopardy of revenue loss and a drop in the product’s value.
“The President has given us the resources and the marching order to take the war to them. As a step in this direction, the Federal Government is taking adequate steps to equip relevant security agencies and, by extension, the N.S.C.D.C., which is the lead agency in the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure.”
Aregbesola also noted that the federal government is not oblivious of the dangers crude oil theft portends for the country, adding that the value of such theft is estimated to be in the billions.
“In the latest estimate, billions of dollars are lost to oil thieves and vandals. There is no gainsaying that the Federal Government is committed and determined to curb the menace of oil theft which is bleeding the economy mindlessly, a development which has led to a drop in the government’s earnings. This unhealthy development has equally led to environmental pollution and other health hazards recorded in places where broken pipes have unleashed crude and refined products on the environment.
“Government is not oblivious of the danger the above scenario poses to national security and socio-economic development. No responsible government would sit down helplessly and watch this reckless display of brigandage by a few unpatriotic and criminally minded individuals who put personal interest above any other consideration.”