President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Comrade Festus Osifo, has said that it is counterproductive for Nigeria to be producing and pumping oil into pipelines while substantial part of it is stolen. He spoke on Channels TV’s Sunrise programme on Saturday.
He said: “We cannot keep producing oil and pumping it into pipelines and at the end of the day, the majority of the oil is stolen.” He alleged that all stakeholders in the oil and gas sector are involved in oil theft.
He also accused security agents, host communities and international collaborators of stealing Nigeria’s oil. He said oil theft has adversely affected Nigeria and the businesses of PENGASSAN members and some oil companies. According to him, some oil companies cannot meet the salary obligations of their staff due to the impact of oil theft.
On Thursday, PENGASSAN protested in Abuja and some states against oil theft and vandalism of oil installations and facilities. The association also threatened to shut down oil production for 30 days if the federal government failed to stop oil theft.
Osifo said “There is total collusion going on in the Niger Delta. That collusion cuts across all stakeholders in the industry cuts across all strata of Nigerians.”
“It includes the security agencies sent to that particular area to man those pipelines, it includes people from the host communities, it includes people that are not from the host communities, they have international collaborators, they have some people who are even working in the oil and gas industry or may have retired. So, it is a big business going on.
“Why do we keep producing and at the end of the day we have some miscreants out there stealing?
“We have engaged them on how to curb this menace of oil theft because, for us, our members cannot continue to labour in vain and for us, on a daily basis, we go into the creeks, we go into the oil production facilities in different parts of the country.
“We cannot keep producing oil and pumping it into pipelines and at the end of the day, the majority of the oil is stolen. “We have made various recommendations on what can be done for both the long term and the short run but they are foot-dragging to implement these things. For us, it is out of national interest.”