Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited Chief Executive Officer ( CEO ), Mela Kyari has said that NNPC Limited is not owing Nigeria but that Nigeria is owing NNPC N1.3 million. He also said that the Nation is at the moment in what he described as calamitous situation over oil theft, pipeline vandalism with attendant low production. Kyari said that the crime on oil theft in Nigeria has been on for many years and specifically about 22 years ago but the dimension and rate it assumed in recent time , was unprecedented.
On non – remittances from NNPCL into the federation account since January, Kyari said that the company is not owing Nigeria but Nigeria owing it N1.3trillion. Kyari said this in Abuja when he appeared before the Senate’s joint committee on Petroleum ( Downstream), Petroleum ( Upstream ) and Gas, just as he agreed with recommendation made by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, that capital punishment should be put in place for offenders. Kyari said, ” As earlier stated as a result of the oil theft, Nigeria losses about 600, 000 barrels per day which is not healthy for the Nation’s economy and in particular , the legal operators in the field which had led to close down of some of their operational facilities. But in rising up to the highly disturbing challenge, NNPCL, has in recent time in collaboration with relevant security agencies , clamped down on the economic saboteurs.
“In the course of the clamp down within the last six weeks, 395 illegal refineries have been de – activated , 274 reservoirs destroyed, 1, 561 metal tanks destroyed, 49 trucks seized and the most striking of all, is the 4 kilometres illegal oil connection line from Forcados Terminal into the sea which had been in operation undetected for 9 solid years.” The NNPCL boss who explained further to the committee that in addressing the menace , NNPCL carried out aerial surveillance of the affected areas , and saw the economic saboteurs carrying out their activities unchallenged and unperturbed, said, “The problem at hand is not only security but social as locals in most areas where the illegal refiners operate , unknowingly serve as their employees by mistaking them for operatives of licensed companies for oil exploration and production in the area.”
According to him, being a problem requiring urgent solution, the Cambodia and Mexico models of involvement of non – state actors is being adopted by NNPCL with involvement of three private security companies. He said, “Is not abnormal to involve non – State actors for protection of oil pipelines and other critical infrastructure as done in Cambodia and Mexico which produced desired results.”. In his closing remarks , the Chairman of the joint committee , Senator Mohammed Sabo Nakudu told the NNPCL boss to get prepared for oversight functions on Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries claimed to have been rehabilitated. All members of the three committees attended the interactive session which lasted for about four hours.