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Mele Kyari asks judiciary to establish special courts for oil theft cases

Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, has asked the judiciary to establish special courts for crude oil theft cases and pipeline vandalism.

Kyari made the call at a capacity-building workshop on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) of 2021 for judges.

Held on Thursday in Abuja, the training was organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and INVESTIN 234.

According to a statement by Femi Soneye, NNPC’s spokesperson, Kyari, in his goodwill message, said special courts should be created to prosecute offences bordering oil theft.

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He said the gains of the PIA have been severely undermined by crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

The NNPC GCEO urged the judiciary to consider the creation of a special court to try offences related to crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism or grant accelerated hearings to such cases.

He noted that the role of the judiciary is crucial to the success of the efforts of the various security arrangements by the NNPC, the law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders in the industry.

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“In particular, is the recommendation that a special court be created to try those offences as they hinge on our survival as a country and/or for such trials to be conducted under an accelerated hearing process by the issuance of Practice Directions to that effect, with concomitant sanctions to deter would-be offenders,” Kyari said.

Kyari also called on the judiciary to expedite hearings on criminal cases in their courts, through timely determination of the criminal charges and imposing adequate punishments and sanctions on culprits to serve as deterrence to others.

He said the NNPC remains committed to collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to make sure the PIA is implemented successfully.

Kyari urged stakeholders to work together to optimise the benefits of natural resources for the advancement of the nation’s economy and society.

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