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Minister opens up on why crude oil theft lingers in Nigeria

Former Governor of Bayelsa State and current Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Thursday in Abuja, gave a download of not only why oil theft had continued, but marshalled out antidotes.

In a no-hold-barred media chat in his office at the NNPC Towers, he said the Federal Government is on top of the drive to address security situations around Oil and Gas Installations, specifically to curtail theft of petroleum product and crude oil.

Giving a graphic detail of why crude oil theft has continued to linger upon all efforts, he listed key factors fuelling the crime.

The Minister listed presence of an active market for stolen crude and products; Weak measurement and surveillance mechanism; Weak and Inadequate sanctions; Low cost and high incentive for theft; Lack of infrastructural development; and lack of community inclusion and engagement.

According to him, whereas the current containment strategies cut across legislation, security, surveillance, community engagement and diplomacy, the Minister came up with fresh strategic recommendations that will effectively join forces with existing efforts at containing the scourge.

Some of the new ideas include but not limited to technology for pro-active leak detection; Community participation in the oil and gas assets; Engage PTI in the training of unemployed youths in the region; Encouraging Modular Refineries; Continuous Sensitization of the Host Communities; and storage Facilities.

“Other recommendations include: revamping security architecture, increasing supply to underserved areas, infrastructural development of the region; and incentives for the host community.

He also listed increase community stake-holding, designing and enforcement stiffer legislations, and mobilise global community; traders, refiners, regulators, international groups.