Tuesday 2 April 2013

CLEEN Foundation, BRACED Commission unite against oil theft

Good governance, deployment of modern technology and proper funding of security agencies have been identified as panacea to the scourge of oil theft and related vices ravaging the Niger Delta region.
These were part of the highpoints of a summit organised recently by CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with the BRACED Commission in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The partnership between CLEEN Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, and the BRACED Commission, which serves as the secretariat and coordinating office of the South-South states of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Delta, also got endorsement from Ford Foundation, West Africa.
Oil theft has continued to define the entire value chain of oil exploration and exploitation in the country.
Different persons had projected that if it is not checked immediately, it will adversely impact on the overall accruals from oil, which will ultimately cripple the economy.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke had early in the year urged all stakeholders to brainstorm on the best strategies to stymie the trend which the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mutiu Sunmonu, estimated costs Nigeria about $6 billion in revenue annually revenue.
However, the summit believed that the problem was not intractable and urged the Federal Government to offer the type of governance that would guarantee the welfare of the citizens in the oil producing communities.
It added that the Federal Government should in addition deploy multi-phase meters at the oil wells, flow stations and export terminals to determine quantity produced and stolen.
The summit said with such technology, there shall be no more secrecy and opaqueness in the volume of crude oil produced.
It urged the Federal Government to demonstrate the political will to enforce existing laws, promote capacity building, logistics and technological support to its agencies particularly the security and law enforcement agencies.
Because of the cross-border nature of oil theft, the summit recommended the resuscitation of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, which was set up as a diplomatic channel to address some of the nation’s maritime security challenges.
The summit while noting that there is a correlation between global demand and local supply for ‘blood oil’, fingered the oil companies as major contributors to some of the challenges of oil theft through poor maintenance culture of their pipelines and facilities.
The over-dependence on oil money, the summit noted, has created a major crisis of unemployment with its attendant criminality.
This, according to the summit, can be stemmed when government deliberately diversifies the economy thereby creating more jobs for the teeming idle youths.
Other recommendations include: Oil producing states should synergize their actions and resources to address the challenges posed by oil theft; they should ensure the effective implementation of Global Memorandum of Understanding; and they should facilitate, through the Ministries of Information and the National Orientation Agency, awareness and sensitisation campaigns for the communities on the negative impact of oil theft.
It also urged civil society organisations (CSOs) to monitor and document compliance of oil companies to the implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights as well as  advocate for the rights of security and law enforcement officials that die in the line of duty.
Source: http://dailyindependentnig.com/2013/04/cleen-foundation-braced-commission-unite-against-oil-theft/

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