Oil theft: NEC approves N15bn to protect oil installations

The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday approved the disbursement of N15 billion to security agencies to protect oil installations in the Niger Delta region over a period of one year.

The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, Mr John Jonah, made the disclosure to State House correspondents after the council meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo.

Jonah said council approval was sequel to a report presented by the ad hoc committee of NEC on Crude Oil Prevention and Control with all governors from Niger Delta region as members.

He said the fund would be sourced through a tripartite arrangement involving, federal and state governments and international oil companies.

“What we are trying to do is to ensure that we buy the necessary equipment for them to perform their duty in the areas that we have identified gaps.

“We also want to make sure that more personnel are available. The terrain is a very difficult one, swampy terrain is a very difficult one.

“In one of the lines between Nembe and Brass, we are told that there are about 150 bunkering points and those vandalised by crude oil thieves, we are in the process of repairing those one,’’ he said.

Jonah disclosed that with the pro-active measures put in place by the committee, there had been a steady increase in oil production.

Specifically, he said oil production as at Thursday had stabilised at 2.4 million barrels per day as against a 1.7 million barrels daily production few months back.

He explained that ripple effects of vandalised pipelines were that most of the oil was allowed to spill into the ocean and subsequent stoppage of production.

“Not all the crude oils are stolen when the lines are vandalised.

“When the lines are broken, if you try to pump, you pump into the sea, so, oil companies will not produce under that condition.

“Once you cannot produce you cannot sell it, but a lot of repairs have been made and we are making sure that the levels we are now is sustained,’’ he said.

Jonah also said that the committee was working out measures for prosecution of crude oil vandals and thieves in line with relevant laws.

Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra said council agreed that the deduction of one per cent of monthly allocations due to three tiers of government, to fund the police, would take effect from October.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the council had at its meeting in June 27 endorsed the deduction of the money from source, for effective funding of the police

NEC had agreed that the deduction of the fund would be made as first line charge, during revenue allocation.

The council had also approved the pruning of the initial overall cost estimate of the Police Reform from N2.8 trillion to N1.5 trillion.

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