Uzodinma Blames Dwindling Economy on Cride Oil Theft

By Jennifer John

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has called for a collaborative effort of all stakeholders; the federal government, state governments, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), oil companies, security agencies and community people to end the economic sabotage of crude oil theft and vandalization of oil installations.

Uzodimma made this call while addressing a federal government delegation, led by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipreye Silver who paid him a courtesy visit at the government house, Owerri. The team was in the state for an engagement with stakeholders in the oil sector for a lasting solution to the issue of crude oil theft, vandalization of oil installations and oil bunkering.

He blamed activities of crude oil thieves for the dwindling revenue to the federation account, as well as the pollution of all rivers in the state and death of all the fishes, environmental pollution and spread of Carbon Monoxide to households.

The Imo governor promised that the state government under his watch would do its best to support oil producing companies operating in the state and collaborate with the federal government to ensure non of their plans/programmes were sabotaged.

Earlier in his address, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva said his team was in the state to interface with government and people of Imo State on solution to crude oil theft, with the knowledge that the problem cannot be solved just from Abuja.

He said the situation has led to dwindling crude oil output, a situation the country could no longer meet its OPEC daily quoter of 1.8 million barrels, as the country has been producing an average of 1.4 million barrels, resulting to loss of a huge amount of supposed revenue on daily basis as a result of the loss of 400,000 barrels per day.

According to the Minister, the people who indulge in the illegal business are well known to members of the communities, reason they have decided to involve the locals in effort to find solution, as according to him, all efforts they have intensified to handle the situation will not succeed without the buy-in of the state government and people of the oil producing communities.

Speaking, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor said the armed forces was available and prepared to do its part in bringing solution to the challenge. He appreciated the support extended to the armed forces in Imo State by Governor Hope Uzodimma, calling for its sustenance and possible improvement.

He promised that the armed forces will escalate its actions to ensure that every form of criminality that goes along with oil and gas industry are eradicated, soliciting support of people at the grassroots.

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