The federal government has acquired eight gunboats to combat crude oil theft in the country.
This was as it instructed security agents to deal with vandals and oil thieves who were sabotaging the country’s economy.
Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola stated this during the inauguration of the gunboats acquired on Tuesday for use by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A statement from the minister’s media adviser Sola Fasure also quoted him as directing the NSCDC to work with other security forces to end the scourge.
The statement read in part: “Those who steal crude oil are not only denying the country much-needed income, they are selling the stolen goods at discounted prices, well below market value. This black market creates a glut and forces the official price down. Therefore, they have put Nigeria at double risk of lost revenue and depreciation of the product.
“The president has given us the means and the marching order to bring the war to them. As a step in this direction, the federal government is taking appropriate measures to equip the relevant security forces and, by extension, the NSCDC, the lead body in protecting critical national assets and infrastructure,” the minister said.
The minister further stated that the government is not aware of the dangers that the theft of crude oil poses to the country, saying that the value of such theft is estimated in the billions.
According to the latest estimate, billions of dollars have been lost to oil thieves and vandals. There is no denying that the federal government is determined and determined to curb the threat of oil theft that is mindlessly bleeding the economy, a development that has led to a drop in government revenues. This unhealthy development has also led to environmental pollution and other health risks registered in places where raw and refined products have been released into the environment through broken pipes.
“The government is not aware of the danger that the above scenario poses to national security and socio-economic development. No responsible government would sit helplessly watching this reckless display of looting by a few unpatriotic and criminally minded individuals who put personal interests above all other considerations.”
NSCDC Commander General Abubakar Audi also stated that the Corps was ready to end vandalism in pipelines and looting of the country’s resources.