Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri has appealed to leaders of some communities in the Niger Delta to speak to people in their location about the dangers of crude oil theft.
He asked them to concentrate on agriculture, stating that right now, a litre of palm oil is more expensive than a litre of crude oil.
He said this on Friday, October 27 during a courtesy visit paid to him at his office by leaders of communities in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, there is a critical need to protect the country’s vital oil installations and discourage illegal crude oil bunkering activities.
He called on all citizens, especially those within the communities directly affected and across the nation, to understand the severe and widespread implications of meddling with oil facilities and engaging in illegal bunkering.
While highlighting the government’s commitment to addressing spillage incidents, Lokpobiri underscored the immense value of preventing such events by putting an end to illegal crude oil bunkering.
He said it is a collective responsibility to safeguard Nigeria’s environment, natural resources, and the livelihoods of individuals in oil-producing regions.
According to him, preventing these activities is not only economically beneficial but also crucial for the long-term preservation of Nigeria’s resources and well-being.
- “Anytime there is a spill, the companies engage with relevant government agencies and engage the communities that are affected from time to time to find the appropriate compensation for them. Unless it is sabotage; these people who are doing illegal refining every day are vandalizing the pipelines to take crude because of the activities of our people.
- “But I have told them that look, we will just kill ourselves and even if you steal all the crude and refine and you make some money, you can’t feed your community. So, in the cause of doing these illegal activities, you are destroying marine life, the entire ecosystem is damaged, people can’t fish, they can’t farm, how will they survive and that’s what I have always told them.
- “I have told people that look, for now, the oil belongs to the federal government, but your land and water resources belong to you, so concentrate on that. A bottle of palm oil is more expensive than a litre of crude oil, so if our people concentrate on agriculture and do whatever they can to protect our environment.
- “Whether the whole of the Niger Delta is polluted or not, Nigeria will still survive, whereas other people have a clean environment where they can do their normal business and survive, which we do not have. This is part of the advocacy that we need to do, when you go back home as leaders of these communities, please talk to them about the danger of what they are doing.”
What you should know:
In a recent exclusive report, TheTimes highlighted that the communities where these crude oil theft activities take place are fully aware of the individuals involved.
Elaborate networks and systems have been established, and community members are somehow linked to these operations.
Some people witness these criminal activities but opt to stay silent. This silence often stems from the severe poverty prevailing in the area, where residents are grappling to meet their basic needs, and stealing crude oil seems like a way to alleviate financial hardships.
It’s important to note that the network involved in crude oil theft encompasses a wide range of individuals and groups.
This includes foreign oil traders, shippers, bankers, refiners, influential politicians, and even military officials.