02 April 2013, Lagos – President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Mr. Babatunde Ogun, has said Nigeria was losing $6 billion annually to crude oil theft.
Ogun spoke at the weekend in Lagos at a forum organised by his association in conjunction with the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, saying this costis minus another N105 billion being lost to theft of refined products..
He said: “This is a threat to our national security and our democracy. If this kind of huge amount of money gets into the wrong hands, it can destabilise our democracy and national security.”
He blamed the loss of billions of money on vandalism of crude oil and petroleum products’ pipeline.
Regretingthat security forces had been unable to arrest the ugly development, he said: “An estimated 60,000 barrels per day of crude oil is stolen at Nembe Creek. Agip also suspended production in Bayelsa because 60 per cent of its production of about 90 barrels is stolen per day.’’
According to him, it was sad that no one had ever been caught or prosecuted even when the Miscellaneous Offences Act provides for life imprisonment for anyone who stole crude oil, petroleum prodct or vandalised pipelines.
He advised government to beef-up security and warned that the oil and gas sector would suspend production of crude oil and supply of petroleum products if nothing was done.
Ogun called on government to deal with the insecurity problem in view of the resurgence of kidnapping and continuous bombings.
The president urged governors and local government chairmen to channel their security votes to step-up intelligence gathering and surveillance to nip crime in the bud at the planning stage.