22 June 2013, Abuja – Stakeholders in the oil and gas have met with President Goodluck Jonathan to discuss the growing problem of oil theft that has reportedly depleting revenue that would have accrued to the government.
Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke told State House correspondents at the close of the meeting that it was resolved that in the next ten days the ensemble that met with the President will break into committees to start working out modalities on how to tackle the problem.
The Minister said: “We are continuing with what has been done but we are becoming much more aggressive. We met with a number of the multinationals, we have come up with various pointers which must be addressed in an in-depth manner over the next ten days”
“A technical team is going to meet across all the stakeholders. They will break into various committees. Like I said it is a many prong issue and must be addressed by a multi-prong pushback. So over the next ten days we will form the relative committees. They will meet and then we will move to implement very aggressively”, she added.
She said the intention of the stakeholders was to confront the menace of oil theft from multi-faceted perspectives because it is equally a complex matter which manifests itself in different sectors of the economy.
“Our intent is that we focus even more robustly in many different ways in trying to come to terms and to come to terms with and to beat this issue which is a many prong issue, it is a very complex issue at many levels and we are going to come up with solutions which will address the issue at the various levels both at the short and medium term at this time,” Mrs Allison-Madueke stated.
Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State who likened the harmful effect of oil theft to ‘blood oil’ said it has been having serious effect on the economy and must be curtailed. “We should look forward to reduction in the quantity of oil that is being stolen from Nigeria,” he said while explaining what will be the outcome of the meeting.
He added that: “The challenge we have now is that a lot more oil is being stolen than we use to have and that is affecting the economy of the country (as) less funds (are) coming as revenue. You know our economy is still dependent on oil until we move it away from oil. That is why some of us are emphasizing on the creating of an economy beyond oil.
“We are here to work out strategies on how to reduce the quantity of oil that is being stolen from various areas. In Delta, we’ve had our own strategy which has been working and we will step up the structures we have on ground to be using to deal with problem,” he further added.
The meeting which started at about 8.30 pm and ended at about 11 pm had in attendance Vice President Muhammad Namadi Sambo, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio; Delta Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan; Bayelsa Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson as well as Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke; Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Lawan Ngama and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke.
Similarly, executives of major oil companies, the service chiefs, officials of the National Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, and Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, attended the meeting, which was an extension of “intense deliberation” that has been going on over the past one year with the Navy and the Joint (Military) Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta.