He stated this in Asaba when he met with traditional rulers and Local Government Transition Committee Chairmen in the state.
He added that the setting up of the Special Task Force, headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN, would help resolve issues surrounding oil theft in the country.
Uduaghan said: “Among all the states in the Niger Delta region where there is crude oil theft, Delta State is the least affected.
I am happy to say that security in the state has improved tremendously as kidnapping, piracy and oil theft have reduced.”He noted that the taskforce was meant to overcome the challenges of jurisdiction and prosecution of suspects, adding that oil theft suspects would now be effectively prosecuted since it was now a federal offence.
He commended the Federal Government for the efforts taken to check oil theft in the country, adding, “until prosecution of all those caught in the vandalisation of pipelines and oil theft is taken seriously, no matter their status, we might not get to the end of this problem.”
The governor charged the royal fathers and people of the Niger Delta region to cooperate with government and security agencies to checkmate incidents of oil theft, as they were the worst hit by the problem.
He said: “It is not the money being lost through oil theft that is the issue, but the damage to the environment through pipeline vandalism and sabotage.
It is not in our interest as we bear the brunt of the physical damage associated with the oil theft, especially the contamination of the air, water and food chain and the genetic mutations for years to come.”
*Emma Amaize, Vanguard