The Nigeria President, Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan has decried the incessant pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft going on in the country adding that it has resulted in serious loss of revenue to Government even as maritime environmental degradation from such disasters affect Nigerians and their well-being.
He stated this at the ongoing retreat organized by the Maritime industry in Abuja, the nation’s capital stating that Government is determined to reverse this situation. “We will protect our natural resources and ensure their sustainable use for the benefit of present and future generations.”
He stated: “To this end, the Maritime Operations Coordinating Committee is already working to address all illegalities in the maritime domain. The Committee comprises all maritime agencies, Ministries of Transport, Finance and Justice.”
He continued: “Also, a sustainable patrol arrangement to enhance collection of revenue and ensure maritime safety has also been approved. We are encouraging an integrated port security system in all the ports for maximum result.”
Dr. Jonathan noted that the amnesty program is yielding the desired fruits as typified in improved security along the coasts, in offshore oil infrastructure, capacity development, and job creation. “We have recently streamlined and simplified ports operational and administrative procedures.
According to him, while these efforts are producing positive outcome, they are not enough adding that more needs to be done. “This workshop provides opportunity to capitalize on the gains so far made and to find durable solutions to the challenges in the maritime sector.”
The President admonished the organizers to place focus on evolving a strong intelligence base and information gathering system, and measures so that crude oil theft is completely eliminated and that the strengthening of regulatory oversight and deepening Inter-Agency partnership should also engage their attention.
“It is embarrassing that it is only in Nigeria that crude oil is stolen. We will be decisive in putting an end to this malaise. Our charge to all relevant agencies and departments of government is to work cooperatively with the required urgency this challenge deserves,” he also stated.
He continued: “I request participants to this workshop to come up with deliverables that provide details on roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and timelines for harnessing the huge potentials in the maritime sector so that our losses will, in the shortest possible time, be converted to our net gains.”