12 March 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – No nation could progress with the level of crude oil theft and oil pipeline vandalism being witnessed in Nigeria, former president of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, Dr. Brown Ogbifun, has said.
“Vandalism and crude oil theft are whirlwinds that shall do no good to the nation. I do not know of any other nation where petroleum products pipelines are vandalised in order to steal crude is as rampant as we have in Nigeria.
“Figures ranging from 200,000 to 350,000 barrels per day have been touted as oil stolen from the lines between 2010 and 2013,” Ogbeifun said as he spoke with newsmen recently.
Referring to the twin-problems as “serious economic haemorrhaging condition that should be stopped by all means,” he maintained that in calculating losses arising from the problems, experts usually focused on the amount of crude stolen without putting into account the cost of cleaning the resulting spills and fixing the pipelines by affected ompanies.
“What of the damage to our national image and the untoward effect of discouraging foreign investments? This is an incalculable damage that cannot be accounted for in naira and kobo,” Ogbeifun said.
According to him, the security agencies were finding it difficult dealing with the challenges “because of the enlarged circle of the powerful cabals and conspirators”.
The ex-PENGASSAN leader accused the international community and financial institutions within and outside Nigeria as culpable in encouraging the nefarious activities of oil thieves and vandals as he also pointed to possible connivance of some security operatives and Nigerians in encouraging the activities.
“Nigerians are also culpable because we seem to be looking the other way while these nefarious activities take place. The vandals operate in communities inhabited by Nigerians and the barges used are not submarines that cannot be detected, or match boxes that can be stuffed in the pocket,” he said.