A federal government delegation to the oil-producing areas of Nigeria has discovered numerous illegal pipeline connections robbing Nigeria of millions of dollars in revenue.

The team noted that a particular pipeline in Owaza in Abia state has been damaged by oil thieves, causing a revenue loss of $7.2 million dollars per month.

The delegation, that visited the Niger Delta region at the weekend, was led by the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar.

Also in his team were; Ministers of State for Defence; Bello Muhammed Matawalle; the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil); Heineken Lokpobiri; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperipe Ekpo, the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, the Chief of Defence Staff,, Gen. Christopher Gwabin Musa; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, among others.

The team from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, (NNPCL) was led by the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, the Executive Vice President Upstream, Adokiye Tombomieye, and the Chief Upstream Investment Officer, Mr. Bala Wunti.

The visit, which happened barely 24 hours after the Port Harcourt refinery was inspected, was at the instance of President Bola Tinubu.

It sought to deepen stakeholder engagement, conduct an on-the-spot assessment of oil production activities and appraise the ongoing fight against economic bandits stealing the nation’s crude oil.

The Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, in his remarks said that the grand objectives of the delegation and the charge by Mr President was to stem crude oil theft in Nigeria.


“We are ready to do whatever it takes for a peaceful Niger-Delta, give peace a chance, cease and desist crude oil theft and economic sabotage”, he said.

On his part, the NNPC GCEO, Mr Mele Kyari noted that while oil theft in vessels could be tracked, the host communities must play a vital role in curbing oil theft within their communities where oil facilities are situated.

“This is part of the reason why we cannot meet our OPEC quota”, he said.

On his part, the NSA, Nuhu Ribadu, applauded the government security forces, community security contractors, and NNPCL for stepping up to the fight against crude oil theft and economic sabotage that profits only a few citizens.

While labelling them bandits, the NSA said; “enough is enough, the environment is being destroyed, livelihoods are being destroyed and the Federation is deprived of revenue capable of shoring up the economy and strengthening the naira”.

During the aerial assessment, the delegation gained first-hand insights into the progress of the war on crude oil theft in the Niger Delta. They observed clandestine refineries, illegal bunkering operations, and the scale of environmental devastation, collectively translating into severe economic losses for the country.

The visit was also an opportunity for the delegation to show their presence in the communities and assess the gravity of the situation and the critical need to strengthen collaboration for a comprehensive solution.



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