The National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, says the country is still losing 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily to local and international thieves despite efforts to end the menace.
Ribadu confirmed this when he led a presidential delegation to inspect oil and gas facilities at Owaza in Abia and Odogwa in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers on Saturday.
He said the activities of oil thieves and pipeline vandals had impacted negatively on the nation’s economy and were partly responsible for the rising cost of living in the country.
“It’s unfortunate that few individuals would steal our common resources, and in the process cause unbelievable loss to both the nation, communities and the people.
“Nigeria has the capacity to produce 2 million barrels of crude daily, but we are currently producing less than 1.6 million barrels due to theft and vandalism of pipelines.
“So, we are talking about 400,000 barrels of crude oil going to waste with few criminals and economic saboteurs not even getting much out of it,” he said.
Ribadu said the operators of artisanal refineries collect a small quantity of crude oil when they break the pipelines while larger volumes of oil are spilled on the environment.
“The value of 400,000 barrels of oil today is about 4 million dollars, and every day, we lose this amount because of this irresponsible behaviour.
“If you multiply 4 million dollars by 365 days (one year), you will see that it is a lot of money running into billions of dollars.
“Currently, the country is in desperate need of money as the Naira is continuously losing its value because we earn less money.
“If we earn more money, it will not only help strengthen our currency but reflect in everything, including the cost of living in the country,” he added.
The NSA said that President Bola Tinubu’s administration was concerned about the development and was already taking actionable steps to address the matter.
He said huge investments made by the government in building infrastructures for the common good of all were being destroyed by few individuals, and in the process, destroying the environment.
Ribadu called for a united front to tackle oil theft and end decades of attacks on the nation’s oil and gas infrastructures.
We are working hard with the security forces and those employed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to secure our facilities and end this madness called oil theft,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that on the presidential delegation with the NSA were the Minister of Defence, Baduru Abubakar, and Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa.
Others included the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar; Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, and Minister of State (Oil), Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri.
The Minister of State (Gas), Petroleum Resources, Ekperipe Ekpo, and senior management officials of the NNPCL as well as other top security personnel were part of the team.