Sylva to security agencies: Double your efforts to completely curb oil theft

BY Bunmi Aduloju


Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, has charged security agencies to completely eradicate oil theft in Nigeria.

Sylva gave the charge while addressing troops under operation Delta Safe during his visit to military formations in Port Harcourt on Thursday.

The minister visited the Nigerian air force 97 special operations group and Nigerian navy ship pathfinder, to reassess the ongoing fight against oil theft.

He said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had pledged to completely eradicate oil theft before leaving office on May 29. 


“We were here a few months ago with a charge and mandate from President Buhari to ensure complete eradication of oil theft in the Niger Delta,” Sylva said.

“Since then, we have seen a significant improvement, meaning that you (military and other security outfits) took the charge and mandate of the president very seriously.

“Therefore, Mr. President sent us here with a message of commendation to you for your gallantry in the fight against oil theft.”


Sylva said Buhari had declared total war against those stealing national assets and depriving people of the benefits of such assets.

He commended the armed forces and other security agencies for their efforts in the battle against oil theft and illegal bunkering in the country.

“I am happy to announce that there is significant improvement in crude oil production, with both Nigerians and the international community acknowledging the improvement,” the minister said.

“However, we should not rest on our oars but we must ensure that stealing of crude oil is 100 percent eradicated in the country.


“So, we urge you to redouble your efforts in completing the job of ending oil theft in the Niger Delta.”

On his part, Lucky Irabor, chief of defence staff, linked the increased oil production and export to the sustained fight against oil thieves by the military and sister security agencies, with support from the government.

He said production was very low before the president gave the military marching orders to combat oil theft.

“Currently, crude oil theft is on a steady decline, indicating that we are on the right path,” Irabor said. 

“The reduction also indicates that there is the need for everyone to put their hands on the plough through collective efforts.”

Also speaking, Awwal Gambo, chief of naval staff, attributed the decline in oil theft to increased synergies between the navy and its sister security agencies.


He said the recent arrest of MT Heroic Idun, a foreign merchant ship, suspected to be involved in crude oil theft was an indication that the fight against oil theft was real.

“The arrest of MT Heroic Idun will serve as a deterrent to those who are stealing our crude,” he said.

“On January 10, the vessel and its crew will be arraigned at the high court here in Port Harcourt.” 

In the country’s latest production statistics, oil output rose to 1.18 million barrels of oil per day, from 1,014,485 bpd.

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