Oil Theft Has Become a Franchise in Nigeria—Ejiofor

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By Dipo Olowookere

A former director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr Mike Ejiofor, has stated that oil theft has become a franchise in Nigeria, noting that it involves some powerful persons in the country.

He made this disclosure while speaking on Thursday on Arise TV breakfast programme, The Morning Show, anchored by the duo of Mr Reuben Abati and Mr Rufai Oseni.

“Why it (oil theft) has become a challenge now is that it has become a franchise. The thief should not steal more than the owner, but now, the bunkerers have the greater share of our national wealth, and it becomes worrisome,” he said.

“So, what should we do to bring this to an end?” Mr Ejiofor queried, stating that, “If you look at the whole situation, it is mindboggling.”

During the show, the security expert disclosed that the intelligence community in Nigeria do get intel about the activities of oil thieves, but the political leaders always fail to act.

He cited an instance when in about 2004, he and a military officer, after getting reports about oil bunkerers, they planned to bust them, but before the action was taken, the information was leaked, and he later received a call from a former militant leader, Mr Government Ekpemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo, about the botched invasion.

Mr Ejiofor said the oil theft was draining the country as revenue that should be used to develop Nigeria is going into private pockets, depriving most citizens of a good life.

Some days ago, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mr Mele Kyari, said a four-kilometre pipeline used to siphon oil from Forcados in Delta State to the Sea. He also said this illegal pipeline and a Loading Port had been operated in the last nine years.

He made the disclosure some days after the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, Mr Peter Obi, said the government was complicit in crude oil theft, noting that only powerful individuals, in connivance with government officials, could steal crude oil and get the commodity out of the country through the waters.

During a visit to the illegal pipeline, Mr Kyari and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, promised to investigate and ensure those found culpable face the wrath of the law.

The revelation about the 4km pipeline cropped up after some Nigerians criticised the award of oil pipeline surveillance to Tompolo. The ex-Niger Delta militant said his team has discovered several points oil thieves use to steal crude oil from the country.

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