The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited on Tuesday accused government officials, religious leaders, security agencies and some staff, of taking part in the nation’s crude oil theft.
Speaking during the 49th meeting of the week by week ministerial briefing at the State House in Abuja, NNPC Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari insisted that the menace involves every member of the society.
According to Kyari, wherever the stolen product is found mostly in churches and mosques, there has been a network of vandals working in collaboration.
He said, “When a fire outbreak happened in one of our pipelines, we discovered that some of the pipelines were actually connected to individuals’ homes. And not only that, and with all sensitivity to our religious beliefs, you know, some of the pipelines and some of the products that we found, are actually in churches and in mosques.
“That means that everybody is involved. There is no way you will take products, bring them in trucks in populated neighborhoods, load them, and leave without everybody else knowing about it. Everybody includes members of the community, members of the religious leaders and also and most likely government officials of all natures, including security agencies personnel.
“They are everywhere. And I’ve seen this even in the Niger Delta. There’s no way you would deliver a volume and lose up to 30 percent and you will continue to put those products in this line.”
He said it was for this reason the entire network of pipelines for petroleum products distribution in the country had been shut down.
On how to address the urgly situation, the NNPC boss said that a national reserve company would be established to manage the pipelines on a commercial basis to efficiently put them to use for the distribution of products across the country.
He noted that crude oil theft had resulted in the discovery of 295 illegal connections.
According to him, the situation is making it difficult for oil companies to operate efficiently and has been very difficult to manage but they are not helpless.
Kyari said that embracing the gas infrastructure fully would resolve the nation’s energy poverty.