BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
A member of the House of Representative and immediate past President of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Peter Akpatason, has said that security agencies in the country should be held responsible for the increasing theft of the nation’s crude oil, saying no theft of crude will be possible without the connivance of security agencies.
Akpatason, who spoke in Lagos, equally advised against further politicisation of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, warning that it was not in the interest of the nation, and argued that the continued procrastination on the PIB would do nobody any good.
According to him, “Crude oil theft is not possible without the connivance of the security agencies. It is just not possible because petroleum tanker is not a small object. It is large enough for anybody to see from anywhere. Barges are not small and ships are not small, but these are the instruments they use in carting crude away.
There is no how you can tell me that without the backing of security agencies, illegal bunkering can take place. It is not possible. It is under the watch, protection and cover of security agencies that those criminals perpetrate their act. So, you cannot divorce those who are giving cover from the act of crude oil theft. If you are protecting those that are stealing, you are equally a thief. That is what is happening in the industry.”
“The solution to it is to call the security agencies to order. They have a responsibility to discharge to the Nigerian people. They were given uniforms and arms to protect Nigerian interest, but they are using it to protect criminal syndicates against the Nigerian people. That is what is happening and that is why crude oil theft is on the increase.
“In anywhere and in any part of this country, there are forces that can stop crude oil theft or oil theft. We have Nigerian Navy in the waters, they can stop anybody; we have National Security and Civil Defence and other security agencies, they can protect the pipelines, yet, these things are happening because they did not only refuse to stop it, but are in active connivance.”
On PIB, he said “It is a reality that stares us in the face and people must begin to look at it objectively. I am not in a position to speak for multinationals, I am a Nigerian and I am interested in the oil and gas industry where I spent my active working life and I know exactly what is going on there. There could be gang up in some areas, but on a general, note there is lull of activities in the oil and gas industry. We do not have to allow that to persist for too long,” he stated.