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Curbing The Menace Of Oil Theft In The Country

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Curbing The Menace Of Oil Theft In The Country

By Emmanuel Njoku

Crude oil theft has been a cancer eating deep into the organs of the nation.

Day by day the story of either stolen crude, or illegally siphoned and refined crude oil adore the front pages of the country’s national dailies.

Just recently, the Nigerian Army uncovered twelve illegal refineries in Delta State.

In August this year, Security operatives of the joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, set ablaze an intercepted vessel carrying barrels of stolen crude oil.

Last year there was a seizure of three-million-barrel capacity oil tanker in Equatorial Guinea laden with stolen crude from Nigeria.

It is worrisome that these heinous crimes against the state is perpetuated in the oil rich Niger Delta region of the nation especially Rivers, Delta, Imo, and Abia which are the economic stronghold of the nation.

The list of this economic sabotage goes endlessly, and the ugly trend continues unabated because it is allegedly perpetuated by a highly organized syndicate of the rich and powerful in the country.

No doubt this form of economic harm has grave consequences on the economic projection of the nation.

In the month of July this year, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC cut down the nation’s quota from one point seven four-two million barrels to one point three-eight million barrels per day due to its inability to meet up with its allocation.

The former Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, Mele Kyari described the situation as nowhere near Nigeria’s capacity.

The effects are enormous on the economy of the nation which includes the depreciation of foreign exchange, as a result there is a scramble of the available forex that caused the naira dollar rate to soar tremendously since the country is not exporting enough of the crude to balance international trade.

This has led to the dwindling income experienced by the country.

Critical infrastructures like power, good road network, medical facility suffer because of cash crunch prompting the borrowing of funds to augment the losses.

There have been series of explosions in some areas where exploration is carried out due to vandalism of oil facilities, which left hundreds of people dead and homeless owing to pollution.

The issue of oil theft is not undefeatable if the federal government and private sectors collaborate to confront the menace.

Security operatives should redouble their efforts in tracking and apprehending the oil thieves not minding whose ox is gored and rid themselves of bad eggs to reduce the crime to the barest minimum.

Traditional institutions in the oil produced regions should also take up responsibility of securing the oil facilities in their domains by teaming up with security agencies in intelligence gathering and sharing.

Also, the media as the voice of the people are expected to carry out campaigns to sensitize the people against the dangers of oil theft and should do more of investigative journalism than the traditional communique or speech writing.

Again, faith-based organizations should inculcate patriotism into their adherents to discourage all forms of sabotage which is inimical to the wellbeing of the nation.

In addition, the legislature should enact strict laws against oil theft to serve as deterrent to potential offenders.

In conclusion, all hands must be on deck to rid the country of these economic parasites to save the economy from an impending collapse.

Edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Salihu Tejumola

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