Crude Theft Most Humongous Economic Crime In Nigeria, Says Kyari

Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mr. Mele Kyari, (R) EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, (L) during the meeting in Abuja

By Stephanie Odiase

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has appealed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to help tackle the menace of crude oil theft in the country.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Mele Kyari, made the appeal at an interactive session with the EFCC’s helmsman, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, which held at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Monday.

Speaking about the efforts by NNPCL to eradicate corruption from its system and stem crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism, Kyari disclosed that going by the volume of oil stolen daily and the brazenness with which the perpetrators operate, crude oil theft was the most humongous and virulent economic crime in Nigeria that must attract the attention of the EFCC.

“As we continue to do our best to deepen transparency and stamp out corruption from the system, there is one big challenge that you will need to help us with, Mr. Chairman. That challenge is crude theft,” Kyari told the EFCC Chairman.

He added, “We have deactivated 6,409 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region. Today, we have disconnected up to 4,846 illegal pipes connected to our pipelines, that is out of 5,543 such illegal connection points. That means there are a vast number of such connections that we have not removed.

“These things don’t just happen from the blues. They happen in communities and locations we all know. As we remove one illegal connection, another one comes up. It is sad, Mr. Chairman.”

Speaking further, he said, “This kind of thing does not happen anywhere else in the world. When we say illegal connections, they are not invisible things, they are big pipes that require some level of expertise to be installed. Some of them are of the same size as the trunk line itself. No one would produce crude oil knowing fully well that it is not going to get to the terminal. That is why nobody is putting money into the business. So, you can’t grow production.”

“I believe, personally, that the very purpose of your commission is to curtail economic crimes, and there is no bigger economic crime of this scale anywhere else than what is happening in this area,” Kyari lamented.

On corruption within the system, Kyari explained that by law, NNPC Ltd is required to maintain high ethical standards and has put in place structures and measures to curb discretionary actions which fuel corruption, stressing that most processes in the company have been fully automated to discourage arbitrary actions.

He disclosed that many issues of corruption reported in the public were either not true or recycled from the past.

In his presentation, the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, challenged the NNPCL to ensure that the codes of ethics and regulations are complemented with monitoring and enforcement to enhance deterrence.

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