The Nigerian Government has acquired eight gunboats to fight crude oil theft.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, stated this on Tuesday while inaugurating the acquired gunboats by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Aregbesola also directed security operatives to clamp down on vandals and oil thieves sabotaging the nation’s economy.
Sola Fasure, Media Adviser to the minister, who disclosed this in a statement, also quoted him directing the NSCDC to collaborate with other security agencies to end the scourge.
The statement partly read, “Those who steal crude oil not only deny the country of the much needed revenue, they sell the stolen goods at discounted prices, well below the market value. This black market creates a glut and forces down the official price. They have therefore made Nigeria suffer the double jeopardy of loss in revenue and drop in value of the product.
“The President has given us the resources and the marching order to take the war to them. As a step in this direction, the Federal Government is taking adequate steps to equip relevant security agencies and, by extension, the NSCDC, which is the lead agency in the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure,”
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Aregbesola added that , “In the latest estimate, billions of dollars are lost to oil thieves and vandals. There is no gainsaying the fact that the Federal Government is committed and determined to curb the menace of oil theft which is bleeding the economy mindlessly, a development which has led to a drop in the earnings of the government. This unhealthy development has equally led to environmental pollution and other health hazards recorded in places where crude and refined products have been unleashed on the environment from broken pipes.
“Government is not oblivious of the danger the above scenario poses to national security and socio-economic development. No responsible government would sit down helplessly and watch this reckless display of brigandage by a few unpatriotic and criminally minded individuals who put personal interest above any other consideration,”