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Buhari orders security agencies to end crude oil theft 

With crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region assuming unprecedented dimensions in recent times, President Muhammadu Buhari has charged security agencies to end the criminality before May 29, as his administration can no longer tolerate it.

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva gave the directive, on behalf of the President, while addressing  troops of the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe, in Effurun, Delta State and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, respectively, on Thursday.

According to him, the country’s economy was being vandalised by oil thieves who continue to distort crude oil productions in frightening dimensions.

He said: “Mr President has mandated us to eradicate crude oil theft. He has directed that no liter of crude oil should be stolen in the country again especially in the South South. He wants crude oil thief completely eliminated by May 29 2023 as one of the legacies of his government. This is the message from Mr President. We are not where we want to be but we are happy at what we are seeing.

Prior to the renewed efforts of the Federal Government in tackling the menace of crude oil thieves, the nation’s daily crude oil production was about 900,000 barrels per day but the scaled up security efforts of the Federal Government has helped to shore up production to about 1.5 million barrels per day. 

The Minister added: “I am happy to hear that morale is high here. We were here a few months ago to hand over the mandate of Mr President to you and that is to ensure that there is zero tolerance  for  crude oil thief in the region. We want to thank you for what you have done so far but there is still more to be done for us to achieve 100%”. 

He noted that “Nigerians have noticed what you are doing, the managers in the oil industry have noticed what you are doing and indeed the international community have noticed what you are doing. We are happy at the improvement we are seeing in the oil and gas sector. We have seen the significant improvement and that’s why we are here on the mandate of the president to thank you for what you are doing. He has said there should be no reason why we (Nigeria) should be losing an essential commodity that is the life wire of the country”. 

“We are here to ask you to redouble your efforts so that we will be able to tell Nigerians and the President that we have zero tolerance for crude oil thieves,” the minister stated further.He said when the team visited the region about three months ago on the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari, the situation was very disturbing noting that “today we have seen a significant change in the whole thing and we are happy about it. We want to return in another few months to show Nigerians that we have successfully tackled the problem of oil thief and pipeline vandalization in the country”.

While again thanking the combined team of security agencies for their efforts he urged them not to relent in the feat they have achieved so far adding that “going forward we want to have zero tolerance for crude oil thieves in the country.

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