FG releases 20 gunboats to NSCDC, bolsters fight against crude oil theft, illegal bunkering

Oredola Adeola

The Nigerian Government has bolstered the efforts of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Anti Vandalism Squad with eight(8) gunboats, in waging a full scale war against the perpetrators of crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the country

The gunboats were commissioned on Tuesday by Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, on behalf of the Federal Government, in Portharcourt, Rivers State.

Olusola Odumosu, Director of Public Relations, NSCDC, in a statement obtained by EnergyDay said that the the move became necessary in order to strengthen the combative capacity of NSCDC Anti Vandalism Squad in stemming the tide of huge revenue loss to the Federal Government in the oil sector.

He said that the boats were commissioned to renew the Corps fight against economic saboteurs by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps,

Aregbesola, in his remark described the incidences of oil theft as an organized crime ridding the nation of accrued revenue running to millions of dollars annually. He said Nigeria has witnessed various occurrences of crude oil theft, thereby losing millions of dollars daily.

He noted that out of the 141 million barrels of oil produced in the 1st quarter of year 2022, only 132 million barrels of oil were received at export terminals; the aftermath further revealed that over 9 million barrels of oil was lost to crude oil theft.

The Minister of Interior condemning the negative impacts of crude oil theft and oil pipeline vandalism in the country, called on all Security Agencies to shun Inter-agency rivalries and synergize by supporting the fight against crude oil theft, in order to salvage and rid Nigeria’s economy of saboteurs.

Aregbesola however emphasised that the NSCDC, being the lead agency in safeguarding critical national assets and infrastructure is mandated to use the available logistics provided by the Government to reduce crime rate and by extension take the war against crude oil theft to the camp of the enemies.

Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, NSCDC Commandant General, promised  that the 8 newly commissioned gunboats will boost the morale of the Corps in combating the menace of Crude Oil theft along the waterways.

Dr. Audi said, “The NSCDC is generally expected to effectively safeguard Critical Infrastructure and oil installations which are very central and vital to the socio-economic development of the nation.

“The Corps is saddled with the mandate to guard against oil theft, illegal oil bunkering through the provision of physical security to oil pipelines against vandalism.

“Therefore, any threat to the oil and gas sector is automatically considered as a high security concern owing to the debilitating effects it has on national development.

“It also constituted environmental degradation, pollution, destruction of land and aquatic life, loss of means of livelihood and drastic reduction in the inflow of foreign exchange needed to bolster the economy of the nation”, the CG said.

The NSCDC CG affirmed that a marching order has been issued to all Zonal Commanders, State Commandants and Heads of Antivandal Unit across formations to be battle ready with a renewed vigour to stamp out oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the nation.

He noted that the Gunboats would be distributed to States in the coastal region as the Corps continue to collaborate with the Military and other Security Agencies.

Audi also charged Nigerians to assist security agencies by volunteering credible Intelligence and information that could lead to possible arrest and prosecution of oil pipeline vandals and saboteurs of the nation’s economy.