The National Chairman of Oil and Gas Host Communities, Prince Mike Emuh, has lamented the nation’s under-performance of crude oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day as set by Oil Producing Exporting Countries (OPEC).
He said the current under production of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, which currently stands at 1.3 million barrels per day, was grossly inadequate and as well affecting the nation’s revenue generation given that Nigeria thrives on monolithic economy.
He attributed the ugly trend to pipeline vandalisation, which he claimed was being perpetrated by those he called “untouchables”, while speaking with newsmen in Abuja on the plight of Nigeria’s oil industry.
Prince Emuh, who doubles as Chairman of Pipeline Imparted Communities of Nigeria revealed that over 200 pipelines were vandalised across the Niger Delta alone, saying that it was a serious sabotage that the Federal government must take a drastic step to end the crime.
According to him,“the solution to end pipeline vandalisation was by bringing the host communities into surveillance of pipelines since they are those that understand the terrain, adding that they were ready to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to end vandalisation of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region.
He claimed that powerful elements in Nigeria who own vessels and trucks were behind the bush-loading of crude oil illegally which runs into trillions of naira on a daily basis, a development he said, was denying the country of accrued revenue.
There is the need for us to collaborate with Mr President to curb illegal acts of oil theft running into several trillions.
Those who are involved are not outsiders. Companies buying crude oil from Nigeria are to be held responsible. Who are the owners of vessels that shuttles between one nautical mile to fifty nautical miles on international water? They are these untouchable Nigerians.
Who are the owners of trucks that are bush-loading crude oil in trillion tonnes everyday all over the Niger Delta? They are Nigeria big shots.
According to him, the trend has attracted the attention of the European Union who have held series of meetings with the NNPC and the host communities to chart a way forward.
The European Union said the Federal Government of Nigeria should give the protection of pipeline to the host communities.
Allow the owners of oil communities to guard the critical equipment because if you let it loose, nobody would be held responsible. The 3% Petroleum Industry Act has come and the PIA said, communities should be held responsible when they are paid.
Emuh noted that over 6,000 youths have been recruited and trained out of the 10,000 of them recommended by the Presidential Amnesty Programme, adding that the FG should award the surveillance contract to the host communities to enable them swing into action.
Now, I have recruited over 6,000 youths. We thought about 10,000 from PAP and have registered our security company. We have trained our children on intelligence gathering and to be watchdog in the jetties and no contract has been given to us.
I am standing here to say we will expose those behind the oil theft in the Niger Delta.
Reacting to whether security agents are complicit, Emuh said, apart from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC), others were not trained on oil pipeline surveillance.
He added that the NSCDC are ill-equipped and lacking technology to track oil thieves at a distance.
He added: “Nigerian Police are not trained to watch pipeline; Nigerian Army are not trained to watch pipeline, Nigerian Airforce or Nigerian Navy are not. Security agents to be held responsible in terms of training are the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
They are ill-equipped. They don’t have modern equipment. They lack modern technology that could enable them see what is happening far away.
I have made proposals to the Federal Government to award surveillance of pipelines to the host communities and hold us responsible.
We will stop oil theft; we will stop pipeline vandalisation. Now we are producing less than 2.5 million barrels per day which was approved by OPEC for Nigeria. We are producing 1.2 or 1.3 million barrels below OPEC quota and those who are responsible are Nigerians, but I am not going to call any names because life needs to be secured.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has just woken up after a series of European Union meetings with us in Port harcourt and Warri and they have handed over everything to NNPC.
The NNPC invited us and said, they want to share the roles to see how these pipeline vandalisation can be stopped. On our own, we are going to work with the Honourable Minister of State for NNPC. We are going to work with the presidency to arrest this ugly situation.