Defence Headquarters has said crude oil theft had dropped from 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 23,000. The Chief of Training and Operations, Maj.-Gen. Lawrence Ngubane announced this in Bile, Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers during a tour to some operational bases of the Joint Task Force (JTF). Ngubane, who held a closed-door meeting with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), said the decline was due to the JTF renewed strategy and commitment to the fight against illegal oil bunkering.
“The level of oil theft has come down drastically; SPDC informed me that oil theft has reduced from 60,000 bpd to 23, 000 bpd. Our desire is that we should go below that. The Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs are doing everything possible to ensure that oil theft is reduced to the barest minimum in the interest of the country. So, my visit is to go round and see the areas of operations within the country and also to see the troops helping us to conduct our operations in the Niger Delta.”
Ngubane said the soldiers were contributing their quota for the progress of the nation’s economy through their commitment in eliminating illegal oil bunkering in the area. According to him, if Nigerians must get quality social services such as healthcare, electricity, roads and education, soldiers must protect pipelines from vandals and not involve themselves in corruption. He said any soldier found involved in corrupt practice would be sanctioned in accordance with the Army Code of Conduct.
“Nigerian Army is known and respected globally for its professionalism and as such, would strive to sustain our positive rating,” he said. Ngubane said more gunboats, kit and other equipment would be provided to intensify the fight against illegal oil bunkering and sundry crimes in the region. The SPDC had on March 4, claimed that the company was losing about 60,000 barrels of crude oil to criminals daily. It threatened to shut down its operations in some parts of Rivers and Bayelsa if efforts were not made by security agencies to combat the illegal activities.