A former Senator and a member of the Bayelsa Elders Forum, Senator Nimi Barigha Amange, has said that the real enemies of the state and the Niger Delta region are those who parade themselves as security personnel, contractors, and political allies to wound the nation’s economy already in comatose and not fragmented pipeline vandals.
Senator Amange claim was contained in a 17-point statement made available to DAILY POST in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Wednesday after a recent reaction to the award of a surveillance contract by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Ltd to former warlords.
The Senator, who also reacted to the recent report that the country loses over 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day to theft, said, “Tompolo’s contract is only a tip of the iceberg to the reality of the Niger Delta tales and a renewed call for the complete practice of the tenets of restructuring as restated over time. It is obvious that the Niger Delta people are engraved to be in the middle of nowhere and labeled ‘theft’ even when the real thieves parade themselves as security personnel, contractors, and political allies to wound the nation’s economy already in comatose.”
On the record that Nigeria loses over 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day to theft, translating to a drop from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, minimal standard of 1.8 million to 1.4 million barrels per day, which in simple terms are translated as losing over 6.132 billion barrels of crude oil annually, he said the big question on the lips of many Nigerians is the reality that Nigeria loses over 10 % of its daily crude oil production to oil thieves and pipeline vandals amounting to a staggering $1 billion in the first quarter of 2022.
Chief Amange, queried, “Who are the real thieves? Who are the real owners of the vessels operating in the Niger Delta region? Who gives the operating licences to oil lifters in the on-shore and off-shore operations?”
He further pointed out that the Nigerian Navy, Immigration, Police, DSS, Army, and other security personnel are usually present during the loading and sale of crude oil in the wharves, yet the stealing continues, and the culprits are not apprehended.
He expressed shock at how the country looks outwards to solve its economic woes by name-calling fragmented pipeline vandals as thieves, adding that the federal government must answer the questions of who the real thieves in the Niger Delta are.
The senator, who represented Bayelsa East Senatorial District, advised that beyond nibbling at the edges of the matters of security in Nigeria, especially to confront the economic question, the petroleum profit should be shared amicably to create the road to economic prosperity for the Niger Delta people and the country at large.
He noted that after analysing Tompolo’s pipeline surveillance contract vis-a-vis the crude oil loss, as speculated, the federal government is spending less than 1 percent of the cost of crude being lost daily to save the nation. Citing references to the last six months with crude oil’s average cost of $100 per barrel translated to put the loss at $40 million per day, $1.2 billion monthly, approximately at N540 billion, noting that if Tompolo’s contract can reduce crude oil theft by 50 percent, he regards it as the best that will ever happen to Nigeria, frowning at critics without cross-checking the facts and realities on ground.