HOSTOM National Chairman Says”Oil Thieves Are People In Government, Security Operatives, Operators”

By Stephen Ubanna

When Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state, revealed that people in government are the real oil thieves, not many people took him serious. This is because he is a politician  and the  Presidential Candidate of the Opposition Labour Party, LP, seeking to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, after the 2023, general  elections.

Obi had had said that between May and July, 2022 the country lost over $5 billion to the obi thieves but that was how far he could go.  This is a business, which the Socio-economic Rights And Accountability Project, SERAP, said had been in existence since 2001, during the Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration and now, meaning that the country had lost billions of naira over the years.

The LP, Presidential Candidate, had corroborated what one Benjamin Style, National Chairman, of Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSTCOM, had said over the years but ignored by those in Authority.Style reportedly had said that ‘’Host communities have the information ‘’to give to the Authorities on the oil theft in the Niger Delta region but the Authorities would never take their words seriously because  they are  involved in the crime’’.

Style: National Chairman, HOSTCOM

The recent discoveries  of 58 oil points in Delta and Bayelsa states and  two major oil export pipelines platform  connected to the sea, around the Forcados axis in Delta state by Government Ekpemupolo, popular, Tompolo, Company, Delta Security Services Nigeria Limited, which had the N48 billion   Pipeline Surveillance contract speaks volume.

Informed sources  told the Value News, tat Delta Security Services Nigeria Limited , which had won the N48 billion pipelines surveillance contract from the Federal government as the lead Company as there are other Companies involved in the execution of the contract  which included  Global West Specialist Limited, owned by Tompolo, Ocean Marine Solutions, Labarador  Security Outfit,  and two other private security outfits allegedly linked to AAsari Dokubo and a Delta Monarch respectively .

Delta security Services Limited, according to an informed sources, which had the Presidential mandate to protect Crude Lines  in Delta, Bayelsa,, Rivers , Cross river, Akwa Ibom,  Edo, Ondo, Imo and Abia states, the nine states in the Niger Delta region were said  to have hit the  ground running last August.

As a prelude to protecting the Crude Lines, across the region, Tompolo, was said to have told residents of the Host Communities in oil and gas production to stop aiding and abetting the oil thieves and accept pipeline surveillance security jobs to enable the nation’s oil sector bounce back.  The people were said to have jumped on the offer and no fewer than 17,000 people were recruited.   

 Tompolo, group appears to be making a headway in Delta and Bayelsa states but the other groups that are expected to watch over the oil pipelines in Rivers, Imo, Abia, Ondo, Edo, Cross river and Akwa Ibom states, were aid to have given their words to Tompolo to start operation soon after putting the necessary logistics in place.

  It was not surprising why many see what theTompolo and his group have achieved in  in Delta and Bayelsa states, in the last  two  months, as a tip of the iceberg , as more discoveries  would still be made in Delta, Bayelsa, and other Niger Delta states of Rivers, Ondo, Edo, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, and Cross river states.

 Given the exposition of the illegal pipelines and platforms for oil export located in Delta and Bayelsa states., there have been calls from several quarters on the Katsina born Nigerian President to beam his searchlight on companies contracted by NNPC, and the Operators to lay pipelines in the region as well as the security agencies personnel deployed to the region to protect the pipelines and monitor the movement of vessels, to get to the root of the matter of getting the oil thieves. 

Recall that the Nigerian President, had ealier come up with a Law, which HOSTCOM, National Chairman, had said ‘’seeks to victimize the host Communities’’. He had  alluded to  section 257, sub section 2, of the Law, which states that ‘’if any act of sabotage  occurs  in any host Community ,the affected  community or communities  would forfeit  the actual payment accruable  to them in the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA’’.

 He had asked: How can a local community that doesn’t have wielding machines be able to do such a technical job, siphoning Crude oil’’, noting that ‘’it is an expert’s job’’. He had asked how people living in thatch houses along the coastlines would be able to raise millions of dollars, to buy vessels and connect a pipe that is four Kilometers to the sea to lift stolen Crude if they are not the rich, who are well-connected in government.

 Recall that in July 2020,  Edmond Dakoru,  a former minister of State , Petroleum Resources, had exonerated host communities from oil theft and Pipeline vandalisation to siphon Crude oil  for Sale overseas, noting that ‘’moneybags were behind the crime’’.  

Dakoru, the  ex-minister of State, Petroleum Resources had described the illegal oil business going on the Niger Delta region as ‘’an organised Crime’’. He could come to the conclusion because he has the technical knowledge as a former top official of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPCL, now baptized, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, in 2020, by the National Assembly, which had been signed into Law, by the Katsina state born Nigerian President

Unconfirmed report said the oil thieves usually inform the security agencies personnel stationed at the Creeks to in order to protect the Crude lines from vandals and monitor the movement of vessels in the Niger Delta about their operations to secure the vessels. 

Tompolo: Pipelienes Surveillance Lead Contractor

This may have informed why Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, had described as ‘’a big cover-up the destruction of a seized vessel by the Tompolo’s men, that was smuggling stolen Crude’’ by the Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo’s men which General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, had said that that ”’the swift response of the Naval personnel followed the Rules of Engagement and that ‘’they didn’t need to carry out any investigation because the ship was caught in the act’’.

The 87 meter –long vessel Ship was alleged to be carrying 650 barrels of stolen Crude. The vessel was said to have had seven Crew members on board as at the time of arrest by Tompolo’s men in Southern Delta state.   

 Note that the oil pipeline sabotage in the Niger Delta region, according to Kyari, Group Managing Director,NNPCL, has cut the country’s crude oil production for export by about 400b/d to 1.4m b/d.On September 11, 2002, Bala Wunti, General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Services, NAPIMS, had said that what the nation loses to the oil thieves at the export terminals across the Niger Delta region on a monthly basis, was 700 million barrels per day.

 For a country that have been struggling to meet the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Quota, its  oil production quota of 1.8mb/d, has been cut   downward  by two  million barrels.

Given the efforts that had been put in by officials Delta Security Services Limited over the last two months to protect the country’s Crude Lines, which had led to the discovery of several illegal pipes connected to the sea,to lift stolen Crude oil, Kyari, Group Managing Director, NNPCL, had said on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, confirmed  that ‘’the oil theft in the Niger Delta region has significantly dropped’’.

Kyari, NNPCL, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, who could not hide his feelings had told participants at this year’s Petroleum and Natural Gas, senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN Energy and Labour Sumit, in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, that ‘’the country will have access to more Crude for sale in the international oil market and revenue accruing into government coffers in the coming weeks’’.

Kyari: GMD, NNPCL

Temipre Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa stat and now minister of state Petroleum Resources, had said that Nigerian’s daily crude oil production has been reduced by two million barrels by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, in its October 5, 2022, meeting.

He had said that ‘’the decision was taken for’’ the exclusive purpose of ensuring the long-term stability of the oil market and to balance the supply and demand’’.The Nigerian minister of state,Petroleum Resources, had said that  the decision taken by OPEC,  ‘’to voluntarily  adjust Nigerian’s daily crude oil production by two million was ‘’unanimous’’.     

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