Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited, Dr Mele Kyari on Thursday called for the establishment of a Special Court for speedy trial of crude oil thieves and pipeline vandals.
Kyari gave the charge during a documentary presentation on Nigeria’s crude oil production situation, vandalism & oil theft and security measures being considered to restore production and improve revenue to members of the House Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), chaired by Hon. In his remarks, the Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on crude oil theft.
Hon. Adar who acknowledged the company’s effort in addressing the menace underscored the need to put in place a monitoring mechanism for the pipelines.
While noting that crude oil theft is an “elitist business”, Kyari argued that the drop in Nigeria’s daily crude production was due to the activities of thieves and vandals, stressing how they have gone too sophisticated.
According to the NNPC accounting officer, Nigeria lost over $1.5 billion worth of crude oil to theft between January and March 2022, amounting to a loss of about 250,000 barrels per day.
He assured that efforts are underway to ensure that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) track the movement of illicit funds accrued through oil theft to the international market.
In the bid to address the challenges, he underscored the need to prosecute promoters of illegal refineries.
“We must have a special court to try those behind this business, this is an elite business, it is not done by poor people,” he stated.
Kyari said thieves and vandals have rendered some of NNPC Limited’s terminals useless, it was forced to shut them down due to zero production. “Some of the activities are done in a very professional manner. It is a daunting situation, but we’re contending with it”, he said.
He explained that some arrests have been made, involving “high calibre oil thieves”, but expressed worries over the slow speed of prosecution at the regular courts.
On the recent hike in the price of diesel, Mr Kyari said it was a result of the coordinated efforts of security forces, which succeeded in seizing the product coming through illegal refineries, but that intervention of the NNPC has paid off, assuring that the price will normalise in the coming weeks.
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