Pipeline vandalism: Defence Chief, Petroleum Minister, others plan security summit

Pipeline vandalism: Defence Chief, Petroleum Minister, others plan security summit

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, says plans are underway for a security summit aimed at tackling challenges associated with securing oil and gas installations in the country especially pipelines.

Musa, who disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja when he visited Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil), was concerned about the crude oil lost to economic saboteurs but vowed to put an end to it.

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The CDS said the meeting with the minister was to strategise with all relevant stakeholders including the Army, Navy and Airforce, as well as other security agencies to deal with the challenge.

He said the proposed summit being organised by the armed forces and other security agencies in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, would deliberate on ways to boost national security.

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“We are looking at the possibility of having a security summit to look at the issues on ground and challenges; deliberating on how best to tackle them together.

“We all know that Nigeria relies so much on petroleum resources and it is important for the ministry of petroleum resource to be supported for him to work efficiently and effectively.

“President Bola Tinubu has given us a mandate to ensure national security and ensure that Niger Delta Region and areas where oil production is going on, are given full support, to boost production level,” he said.

Musa assured that the armed forces of Nigeria were fully in support of the ministry and would provide it with the necessary support to ensure that Nigerians benefit from the God-given resource.

The CDS, while commending the minister, said there had been a lot of improvement in the sector since his assumption of office, especially on issues bordering on illegal refineries and environmental pollution which had gone done drastically.

“This shows that you are really doing well; we want to appeal to all Nigerians to join hands together to ensure that we secure our resources for our benefit.

“We are with you day and night, we will not hesitate,” the CDS assured.

The minister, while responding, expressed commitment to work closely with the CDS to fight pipeline vandals and those engaging in illegal refining of crude oil as well as oil thieves.

“We cannot completely eliminate crime but by working together with you, we will be able to reduce the menace to the barest minimum and reap the benefit from oil and gas production.

“Our commitment is to give you all the support needed, not just the ministry alone but all the agencies in the sector will work closely with you to reduce the menace.

“Federal Government has an obligation to ensure increased production, to take care of the feedstock needed for the Dangote Refinery, Port Harcourt Refinery and others, so as to have full benefit across the entire value chain,’’ he said.

According to Lokpobiri, every country in the world prioritises security and investment in its strategic assets.

He noted that the quickest way to solve Nigeria’s economic problems was through oil and gas.

“Today, oil sells for over 90 dollars per barrel and if we ramp up production, reduce the level of oil theft and pipeline vandalism, we will be able to raise enough money to fund budgets and stabilise the economy,’’ he said.

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