Disturbed by the alarming rate of oil theft in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday night summoned Governors of the oil-rich states and Chief Executive Officers of all major oil companies to a crucial meeting at the Presidential Villa.
The meeting sought to take a more pragmatic step towards finding lasting solution to the menace of oil theft that has continued to dwindle the revenue accruing to the federation as well as portraying the country in a bad light before the international community.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta state who spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting said stakeholders resolved to adopt pragmatic strategy that will lead to drastic reduction in the quantity of oil that is being stolen from the country.
“After this meeting, we should look forward to reduction in the quantity of oil that is being stolen from Nigeria, the challenge we have now is that a lot more oil is being stolen than we use to have and that is affecting the economy of the country, less funds coming as revenue”
“You know our economy is still dependent on oil until we move it away from oil, that is why some of us are emphasizing creating an economy beyond oil, he said”
Governor Uduaghan also spoke on the effort being made in his state to address the menace, saying, he has already initiated the “Delta beyond oil” programme aimed at focusing on other areas of revenue other than total reliance on oil.
“We are here to work out strategies on how to reduce the quantity of oil that is being stolen from various areas. In Delta, we have had our own strategy which has been working and we will step up the structures we have on ground to be using to deal with problem.
“It is a problem that involves the local community to the international community and from that local community to international community, we have a lot of stakeholders and everybody has to be involved”, he said.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke also said the President summoned all relevant stakeholders in the oil industry to discuss very critical issue of crude oil theft which is affecting revenue accruing to the Federation Account from the sale of crude oil.
She said stakeholders in the oil industry have resolved to address the multi- prong problem in an in-depth manner over the next ten days in a more aggressive manner.
“We are continuing with what has been done but we are becoming much more aggressive. We met with a number of the multinationals; we have come up with various pointers which must be addressed in an in-depth manner over the next ten days.
“A technical team is going to meet across all the stakeholders; they will break into various committees, like I said it is a many prong issue and must be addressed by a multi-prong pushback. So over the next ten days we will form the relative committees, they will meet and then we will move to implement very aggressively”, she added.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke who described the deliberation as “fruitful”, added that the President called on the governors of affected states, all the internationals, multinational chiefs and service chiefs as well as NPDC, NNPC and other ministers who are relevant stakeholders to deliberate on efforts to tackle the issue of oil theft.
In attendance also were Godswil Akpabio of Akwa ibom and Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, and Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama as well as Chief Executives of major oil companies.
However, it could not be ascertained why Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers was absent at such a strategic meeting aimed at boosting the revenue accruing to the federation.