Comrade Festus Osifo, the president of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), claimed that the military, police, and other security officials in Nigeria conspire to steal crude oil in the Niger Delta on Wednesday.
The Senate Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate Oil Lifting, Theft, and the Impact on Petroleum Production and Oil Revenues, Led by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, held a one-day public hearing at which he made this revelation.
In addition to other stakeholders present at the public hearing, the president of PENGASSAN bemoaned the involvement of security who send personnel to the Niger Delta to service their illegal interests.
“All parties involved are aware of what is happening. Not that people are ignorant of the issue.
“Our security forces’ strong collaboration is one of the biggest issues we face, which no one has mentioned. There is no question in my mind.
“We have information that some of our Army and Naval officers bribe their bosses to send them to specific Niger Delta locations.
“In my opinion, those present are not even the ones with the answers to this issue. You’ll encourage them to stand in front of the camera.
Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, the chairman of the committee, had already voiced disappointment at the seemingly unending oil theft that had resisted all efforts.
He stated that committee members had visited the Niger Delta for sightseeing, emphasizing that they had left Port Harcourt after seeing various terminals.
“As a Senate Committee, we have the privilege of conducting a thorough on-the-spot assessment of where we found ourselves,” Akpan remarked. You might find it interesting to know that we stayed in Port Harcourt for more than seven days in an effort to learn about the onshore and offshore conditions while getting briefed by the appropriate players.
“The first thing we needed to do was have a convincing picture of the struggles the institution is facing. Nobody was pleased with our departure.
“As a Committee, we discuss oil theft on a regular basis. It’s also not good that oil theft contributed to the shortfall caused by our inability to meet the oil quota.
“Mr. President, my esteemed colleagues, we give examples of the Shell Petroleum-operated Bonny terminal. Over a year ago, this terminal exported crude oil in 60 tankers at a minimum of one million barrels per tanker each month.
“However, not a single barrel of crude oil has traveled through that terminal in the last seven months, so you can only picture the enormous loss, and we are here as a nation striving to fulfill our economic issues.
“The Federal government is asking for a budget deficit of over N11 trillion in the MTEF that has been provided to us, and here we are as a nation shutting down over 700 million barrels of oil output.”
In two weeks, the Committee is supposed to turn in its report to the whole Committee.