The Chairman, House of Representatives Special Committee on Oil Theft/Losses, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa has said that the parliament will champion legislation to enhance the involvement of private security firms in protecting the country’s oil and gas facilities.
The lawmaker stated this on Friday when he led the chairmen of other oil and gas-related committees on an on-the-spot assessment of vessels arrested by a private security outfit, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited working in partnership with security agencies in Delta State for alleged crude oil theft.
The committees on the visit included Environment, Host Communities, Niger Delta, Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Midstream), Gas Resources and Petroleum Resources (Training Fund).
The Kano-born lawmaker commended the security outfit for its services to the nation, adding that the nation has within the past few weeks witnessed an increase in oil production.
Ado-Doguwa said, “We will also see to the possibility of creating a legal framework where private institutions like Tantita would be allowed not only on the shallow waters but even to go and operate in the high seas, the deep waters to see how they can protect our assets, to see how they can fight seriously against oil theft and this kind of vandalisation that has continued to affect adversely the development of our economy.
“The economy is around the oil sector and we must do whatever is needed to protect our oil assets and to protect these very particular areas so that we would continue to catch up with the quota accorded to us by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
“We must do this to generate the desired revenue and resources to develop the country and reduce pressure on the naira. So many other things.”
“We have seen the very good work being done by Tantita, the Nigerian Army, the Navy and Civil Defence and on our own part, we will continue to create a better performing environment for them to see to the protection of our oil assets,” he said.
The lawmaker further expressed concern over the high spate of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta, saying, “I want to tell you that we are all out to see increased production of our oil and gas industry in the country. One of the major challenges we are facing is about increased production. In the recent stakeholder meeting we had with the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, the issue was about increased production.
“No matter what oil would be in the future, at least, we are not sure of the fact that it remains the live wire of the economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a continuous crisis like this where you have issues of theft, vandalization of pipelines and a lot of other crisis around the oil-producing states, is of serious concern to the National Assembly and particularly to this committee.”
On his part, the Chairman, Committee on Oil Theft, Fred Agbedi, also expressed the commitment of the House to address issues relating to crude oil theft in the country.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Midstream), Odianosen Okojie, said the various relevant committees would work together to deal with the menace and shore up the country’s revenue to ensure the development of critical infrastructure.
The Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Eugene Agu, expressed optimism over the increased production of oil.
“For some time now, Nigeria as a people has not had it so good like this. Before now, our barrel per day was less than a million barrels. But as of today, we are making a million plus. At the National Assembly, our budget estimate per day is 1.8m per day. But by the grace of God and the way Tantita is working, it is going to be realized because anything short of that means that we are going to run into a deficit budget.
“I encourage the Federal Government to encourage Tantita and help them with the challenges so that they can do more because they have done very well in terms of safeguarding other infrastructures within the marine areas,” he said.
The Executive Director, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, Waridi Eniusoh, urged the government to strengthen collaboration with private security firms to protect oil facilities.
“Even the Chief of Defence Staff said that the Navy cannot cover it all. So that is where private security would come in and cover that gap. Part of why maritime vandalisation is becoming very frequent is that we have been able to push them from the land area. They used to tamper with the pipelines before. But with the pipelines almost secured, they are now moving further into the ocean, which they feel is not guarded,” he said.
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