Niger Delta CDCs seek EFCC’s intervention against oil theft

*Illegal crude oil refining activity.

Mkpoikana Udoma

Port Harcourt — The Community Development Committees of Niger Delta’s oil and gas producing communities, have called for a more direct intervention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in tackling the menace of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the region.

The group made the call when its Board of Trustees, led by the Chairman, Mr. Joseph Ambakaderemo, paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, at the corporate headquarters of the Commission.

Ambakaderemo lamented that oil theft in the Niger Delta has caused huge disruption to the country’s economic forecasts and negatively impacted the national economy.

He said, “Oil theft and vandalism of oil infrastructure are issues of economic sabotage and a threat to national security. The EFCC is empowered by law to deal with economic saboteurs. We urge the Commission to give adequate attention to this threat to our environment in the Niger Delta and the economic sabotage of our country by adopting preventive measures and diligent prosecution of culprits.

“Oil theft should be a cause for worry to every patriotic Nigerian. The complicity and conspiracy of silence by well-meaning individuals is even more troubling. This menace at some point affects everyone. We advocate for a more robust national discourse on this existential threat of our time,” he said.

Responding, Executive Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, who spoke through the Commission’s Secretary, Mr. Mohammad Hammajoda, assured the group of the Commission’s collaboration with all relevant agencies of government and non-state actors to bring the menace of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism to an end.

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“We highly appreciate your presence. This is an important engagement towards finding a solution to the scourge of oil theft and vandalization of oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.

Apart from the fact that oil theft has made it difficult over the years for us as a country to meet our OPEC production quota, and by extension diminish the revenue we ought to make from crude oil sales for national development, the menace often comes with the evil of pipeline vandalism, which in several cases leaves a huge toll of environmental pollution, manifesting in the destruction of marine economy, farmlands and everything in the ecosystem, including human lives.

“Arresting the tide of oil theft is at the core of what we do in the Commission in nearly all the zonal commands in the southern part of the country, particularly in the Niger Delta. I give you my assurance that we will collaborate with your organization for the sake of our country, our generation and posterity,” EFCC said.

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