The Federal Government has decried huge crude oil theft resulting in substantial loss in production.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who disclosed this, yesterday, when he visited the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, at the Government House, Owerri, lamented that hoodlums who perpetrate the act has caused the production level to reduce by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), translating to a drop from 1.8 million to 1.4 million bpd.
Sylva, who was accompanied by a high powered team made up of the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah; the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor; the Group Chief Executive Officer, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Alhaji Mele Kyari, said they came as part of industry-wide intervention mission to find a lasting solution to curb crude oil theft in Nigeria, noting that they were also in the state to get the buy-in and support of the state government on how to tackle the problem.
His words: “We’ve come here to engage the state government to get your buy-in and support.” Sylva disclosed that his delegation was in the state to seek the cooperation of the state government, adding that the oil host communities should play a collaborative effort to stop the alarming levels of crude oil theft, which has now become a national emergency.
Speaking, Uzodimma pledged the commitment of government to curb the menace in the state. He said: “We are committed; we are determined. The consequences of oil theft are alarming. Our economy is bleeding.”
Uzodimma regretted that the development has led to a drop in the earnings of government, creating environmental pollution and other health hazards.
He promised that the state government would do its best to support oil-producing companies, as well as collaborate with Federal Government to achieve the goal.
The governor thanked the NNPC Limited for the 200- bed hospital it is building at the Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu.
By Charles Ogugbuaja
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