The Federal Government has secured the approval of the National Economic Council (NEC) to spend a whopping N15 billion annually to protect oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the 52nd meeting of the Council.
Vice President Namadi Sambo chairs the NEC statutorily. It also comprises of the36 state governors, ministers of Finance, Justice, National planning, FCT and CBN governors as members.
According to Obi, Council expressed satisfaction with the report of the governor Emmnauel Uduaghan-led committee on the criminal incidence of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta Region hence, the approval.
He however added that the fund would be sourced through a tripartite arrangement among the three tiers of government- Federal, States and Local Government.
Council, Anambra governor said was satisfied with the measures put in place so far to protect oil facilities that has now stabilizes oil production at 2.4million barrels per day, as against the previous 1.7 million.
Governor Obi, who briefed correspondents alongside his Gombe counterpart, Ibrahim Dakwambo and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, John Jonah, said “Now the oil production as at today is 2.4 million barrels per day but there was a time it went as low as 1.7 million barrels per day.
“Most of the oil is not stolen. When you vandalize the lines they cannot produce. When the lines are broken, if you try to pump, you pump into the sea, oil companies will not produce under that condition.
“So that oil is called deferred oil, it is there not stolen but you cannot produce. Once you cannot produce you cannot sell it. But a lot of repairs have been made and we are making sure that the level we are is sustained that is why the facilities that is needed have been approved. We are going spend about N15 billion over the year and that is what we lose in just few days”.
Bayelsa Deputy Governor, John Jonah also spoke further on this, “So, what we are trying to do is to ensure that we buy the necessary equipment for them to perform their duty in the areas that we have identified gaps. We also want to make sure that more personnel are available. The terrain is a very difficult one, swamp terrain is a very difficult one”
“In one of the lines between Nembe and Brass, we are told that there are about 150 bunkering points and those have been vandalized by crude oil thieves and we are in the process of repairing those one.
“It is the process of equipping him and giving him additional incentive to work that this money is being voted for. It is not just soldiers, navy, air force, there are policemen, civil Defence and even the EFCC”.