Oil Theft: Nigeria loses N1.29trilion annually – Abbas

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, has lamented that the country is losing N1.29trillion to oil theft, pipeline vandalism and other forms of criminality.

Tajudeen spoke during the inauguration of the New Headquarters Naval Training Command in Ebubu community, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State on Friday.

The speaker, who was represented by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, said the country was losing an estimated 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day to theft.

He said the development had given the Nigerian Navy a challenge to rise up to its mandate of contributing to the survival of the national economy.

He particularly urged the Nigerian Navy to defend and protect the sovereignty of Nigeria’s territorial waters against all forms of threats.

He said: “Unfortunately, it is estimated that Nigeria loses over 300,000 barrels of crude oil daily to oil theft, pipeline vandalism and other forms of criminality. This has led to revenue loses estimated at N1.29trillion annually.

“Therefore, concerned about the adverse effects of oil theft in Nigeria, I inaugurated a special committee on Crude Oil Theft Losses on November 22, 2023, to determine decisive remedial actions to be taken.

“I commend the Nigerian Navy on the steps taken so far, and I urge the Navy to sustain the momentum.”

Inaugurating the new training headquarters, the Rivers State Governor, Sir. Siminalayi Fubara,donated N350m to the Nigerian Navy to boost its operational capabilities in the state.

The governor particularly asked the Navy to use the money to support the continuing infrastructural development and operationalisation of its new training command in the state.

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Fubara urged the Nigerian Navy to ensure that its investment in the professional development of naval personnel translated into visible advancement in the security and prosperity of the nation’s maritime interests and blue economy.

The governor in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Nelson Chukwudi, noted that the event completed a developmental journey that started in April, 2023.

He said it was when his predecessor graciously ceded the dilapidated structures of the abandoned former Ambassador Nne Krukrubo Model Government Secondary School to the Nigerian Navy for use.

Fubara said: “Today, we have seen the results of that noble and progressive decision with the comprehensive transformation and upgrading of the facilities as the Nigerian Navy’s new headquarters training command, which was hitherto domiciled in Lagos State.

“This magnificent training command stands as a testament to the commitment of the leadership of the Nigerian Navy to invest in the professional development of our naval personnel with the singular objective of cultivating a highly skilled, proficient and motivated naval force capable of advancing the security and prosperity of the nation’s maritime interests.”

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The governor emphasised that the training command was a remarkable evidence of the great strides made by President Bola Tinubu in strengthening the combat capabilities of the Nigerian Navy to deal with the expanded spectrum of maritime security threats that we face as a nation.

He said Rivers is a littoral territory with significant deposits of natural resources that was exposed to seaborne security threats, activities of pirates, kidnappers, and pipeline vandals, which impact adversely on the state and national economies, if not effectively tackled.

He said: “This is why we will continue to provide tangible support and work together with the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies to safeguard the freedom of navigation, combat criminality on our waterways and ensure that the State is safe and secure for business and development to thrive and benefit our people and the nation.

“As you go on to put this training command into full service, my charge to you is to ensure that this sprawling facility is effectively maintained and utilized to expand your operations and activities for national security development.

“I further implore you to provide effective security and development support to the host communities, and live in peace and harmony with the civilian population in the local government area.

“Let me thank all who have contributed to the realisation of this important project in this community as I reaffirm the special bond Rivers State has with the Nigerian Navy, and the shared commitment to advancing the peace, security and well-being of our State, people, and the nation”.

On his part, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, thanked the Rivers State Government for the donation of the entire complex to demonstrate the existing cordial relationship between the Nigerian Navy and Rivers State.

Ogalla said the relocation of the Headquarters Naval Training Command from Lagos to Ebubu-Eleme in Rivers State would bolster human capacity development of personnel of the Nigerian Navy.

The Chief of Naval Staff also stated that it would strengthen cooperation towards the overall national security while also enhancing national development.

He said: “It will also assist in providing the enabling environment for learning and enable us to carry out the statutory manning of the entire State, and national security of our country.

“This is in line with Mr President’s mandate given to us to provide the enabling environment for the harnessing of the enormous economic potentials inherent in our blue economy for the overall good, national prosperity and development.”

He assured that the Nigerian Navy would continue to carry out operations to ensure security of the nation’s maritime domain as well as secure Rivers State and the entire Niger Delta region generally.

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