The Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC/Niger Delta Western OML 34 Asset Management Team (ATM) has said although the company suffers losses during massive stealing of crude oil, the people of the host communities suffer hardship more.
The Manager, Government, Community Relations Security, NPDC/NDW OML 34 AMT, Mr Sheidu Aiguedo, who represented the Chief Operating Officer of the NPDC /NDW OML34 AMT, Chief Edirin Abamwa, gave the verdict at an interactive session with journalists in Warri, Delta State.
Aiguedo alleged that host communities, surveillance guards and contractor employers in the various host communities contribute to the rupturing of oil facilities and operation of artisanal refineries where the company operates in parts of Ughelli South, Udu and Ughelli North local government areas of the state.
Mr Aiguedo said in spite of the numerous corporate social responsibilities being executed in the company’s host communities regularly, illegal oil bunkering by locals has yet to abate.
He opined that the volume of what the oil thieves spill on the environment pales compared to the volume security agents destroy during their operations, warning that the future of such communities was bleak.
He lamented that despite billions of naira being paid to contractors to guard the oil and gas pipelines, the facilities still suffer untold vandalism while communities feign ignorance.
“Community people who are supposed to speak, it is either they are afraid to speak or they are benefitting from the activities of the illegal bunkerers in their communities.
“Someone’s property was destroyed recently and was ostracised at Otor-Edo. Once they suspect you’re the one who gave the company the information, they destroy your property,” he lamented.
Aiguedo further lamented a development where children and women are now being recruited into the illicit business in the various communities, noting that he would, however, not exonerate anyone particularly the security operatives from the activities of the economic sabotage.
According to him, the heinous activities of oil thieves led to a recent shutdown of the company’s operations.
Speaking on the way forward, Mr Aiguedo said the company was employing the use of new technologies to improve the monitoring of its facilities in the creeks.
“We are employing technology to enhance our monitoring capacity and at the same time, trying to dig our feet on the ground so that when our lines are vandalised, we suspend you and cancel your contract,” he said.
He added that besides upping its awareness campaign against oil theft in host communities, the NPDC would embark on a rigorous engagement with monarchs, opinion, community and political leaders to discourage the crime.
He urged the Federal Government to be resolute in partnering with oil and gas companies to prevent and protect oil and gas facilities as well as prosecute apprehended oil thieves to serve as a deterrent to others.
Other officers of the Field Security Team Officer at the interactive session included Col. Oyekan (retd), Greg Akeosu, Olorogun Christopher Otobrise, Community Interface Coordinator and Eunice Akporobor, Community Relations Officer.