BY GABRIEL OKECHUKWU, PORT HARCOURT
The Minister of Interior, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola says crude oil theft has caused the nation huge revenue loss and environmental pollution.
Alhaji Aregbesola who made this known while handing over eight security gunboats to Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in Port Harcourt Rivers State, maintained that the Federal Government was committed to end oil theft in the nation.
Considering the challenges posed by pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft in general, the security patrol gunboat for Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC is a step in the right direction.
The gunboats are fitted with Global Positioning System, GPS, life raft, Echo Sounder, Fore and after gun mouth and two Number two hundred horsepower engines.
While unveiling the gunboats, Minister of Interior, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola noted with displeasure the negative impact of oil theft on the economy and environment.
Alhaji Aregbesola insisted that the nation has lost revenue in billions of Dollars due to oil theft.
According to the minister, apart from the loss of crude oil, fixing vandalized pipelines are capital intensive while oil spill affects both farmlands and aquatic life.
The minister who maintained that the Federal government was determined to ensure the end of oil theft in the nation, hence the quest to equip the security agencies called for synergy among security operatives instead of rivalry.
“We are commissioning today eight gunboats built by Epenal, a Nigeria based company for the use of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.”
“This is a pointer to the level of commitment of Federal government at enhancing the capacity of the Corps to end crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.”
“Please make use of the gunboat to justify the confidence reposed on you by the Federal government to tackle crude oil theft.”
The Minister of Interior applauded the Commandant General of NSCDC and entire staff for their commitment in the quest to root out illegal refining of crude oil.
In his address, the Commandant General NSCDC Abubaka Audi gave assurance of the preparedness of the Corps
to combat crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
Commandant General Audi who revealed that he has given a matching order to all the State Commandants and Heads of Anti Vandal units to redouble efforts expressed optimism that the gunboats will assist the Corp to confront any form of crude oil theft in the nation.
“Let me use this medium to assure the Federal government and the people of this great country that the Corps is determined more than ever before and fully committed to the war against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering.”
“The Corps is not oblivious of the colossal damage that this has done to the economy and will therefore stop at nothing to limit the threat and curb this dangerous trend to avert economic losses.”
“There is no gain saying that loss of National revenue will affect government capacity to provide social amenities and infrastructure needed to improve the quality of life.”
While appreciating Federal Government for the support, he warned that any personnel found compromising the effort to fight illegal bunkering will be sanctioned.
On his part, the Group General Manager of the manufacturing company, Mr. Numo Aaron said the boat which is bullet proof is suitable for security patrol in the maritime domain.
Mr. Aaron appreciated Federal government and NSCDC for encouraging local content thereby creating job opportunities.
Present at the event were heads of security operatives in Rivers State, NSCDC commandants of Benefiting states including that of Rivers State, Commandant Michael Bisong.