163 oil theft incidents occurred between November 25 and December 1 in the country.
This is according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) via its weekly Energy and You series airing every Tuesday night via the NTA Network.
According to the report, during the specified timeline, there were 69 illegal connections were discovered in Bayelsa and Rivers states, 14 illegal refineries, 10 pipeline vandalism acts, 10 vessels AIS infractions, 41 wooden boats arrests were made in Bayelsa state, 5 vehicle arrests were made in Delta and Rivers states, 11 oil spills, and 3 illegal storage sites.
The report noted that on November 28, Tantita Security Services, in collaboration with security agencies, conducted routine surveillance along the western corridor where a large illegal connection was found on an Escravos pipeline in Udaibo, Delta state. Along the Amukpe-Escravos pipeline, another illegal connection was spotted in Mereje, Delta state.
Across different locations in Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers states, various incidents related to stolen crude oil were discovered:
Specifically in Warri, Delta State, at the Niger CAT junction, authorities uncovered a market where stolen crude oil was being traded. Security agents, working in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, took action to dismantle the site. This demolition aimed to combat the persistent issue of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
Overall, a total of 163 incidents were reported across various regions:
Additionally, authorities were able to arrest 16 suspects involved in crude oil theft as part of their efforts to address and prevent such activities in the region.
After observing many months of crude oil theft activities in the Niger Delta region, Naijaonpoint has worked out a breakdown of the situation in the region:
Community Involvement and Awareness: Communities in these areas are well aware of the individuals involved in these illegal operations. Elaborate networks and structures have been established, with community members being connected, directly or indirectly, to these activities.
Silent Observers: Some individuals witness these criminal activities but choose to remain silent. This silence often stems from the prevailing poverty in the region, where people struggle to meet their basic needs. Crude oil theft becomes an avenue for financial relief in these circumstances.
Diverse Network: The crude oil theft network involves a wide range of individuals and groups. It includes foreign oil traders, shippers, bankers, refiners, high-ranking politicians, and even military officials.
Grassroots Involvement: At the grassroots level, young Nigerians living in the creeks are involved in these illicit activities. They engage in risky and illegal work, often joining gangs, and continuously recruit more youths into this trade.
Survival Amidst Hardship: These young Nigerians are primarily driven by the need for survival. Their region suffers from pollution, high unemployment rates, and neglect. The cycle of poverty and desperation pushes them toward engaging in crude oil theft, seeing it as a means of survival in their harsh environment.
Holistic Solutions: The situation highlights the necessity for comprehensive solutions addressing the root causes. These solutions should focus on economic revitalization, environmental rehabilitation, and broader support to uplift the affected communities, breaking the cycle of poverty that leads to these illicit activities.