File image of a man working at an illegal oil refinery site near river Nun, Bayelsa State. REUTERS.

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

THE Deputy Majority leader, House of Representatives, Peter Akpatason, has called on the Federal Government to bring full weight of the law and security agencies on oil theft and pipeline vandals, warning that their activities are seriously bleeding the nation’s economy.

Akpatason, who is a former President of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, lamented that from all indications, the government is not serious about checkmating oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

According to him, “Oil theft, not just pipeline vandalism is a big problem to the country. Vandalism is a micro aspect of oil theft. The nation loses oil in so many ways not just through vandalism. We lose oil to deliberate manipulation of the accounting process in which the record that comes out is different from what is produced and exported. That is the biggest source of crude loss and it is seriously bleeding the country’s economy.”

Continuing, he said: “We are not sincere about securing our pipelines because it is possible to reduce vandalism drastically. But for the moment I am not seeing that seriousness because the pipeline routes are very clear. All of them are known to security agencies.

Drones are being acquired from time to time with which they can monitor the routes and detect where vandalism is likely to take place in a proactive way.

“When you see unusual movements around the pipelines, you know that something is likely going to happen and you can prevent it. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening at the moment. Often times, they allow it to happen and start running around to do fire fighting mechanism instead of proactively attacking the issue to prevent it from happening.”


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