Oil Theft: PENGASSAN Open Protest Rallies in Nigeria’s Major Cities.
Members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria [PENGASSAN] yesterday commenced a nationwide protest match to demonstrate their displeasure over federal of Nigeria handling of the massive crude oil theft crumbling the Nigerian economy.
A recent estimates released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd and the ministry of petroleum resources put the total quantity of barrels stolen at between 200,000 and 400,000 per day.
Further in the figures brandied by the Nigerian authorities show that Nigeria only managed to produce 1.083 million b/d in the month of July, way below its OPEC quota of 1.8 million b/d. With a barrel of Bonny Light currently changing hands at $117.60, Nigeria is losing billions of dollars every year to oil theft.
Back in June, NNPC said Nigeria lost $1bn from oil theft in the first quarter of 2022 alone, with Shell Plc. subsidiaries in the country claiming that illegal seizures now pose an existential threat to the entire market.
Yesterday at the popular Unity Fountain in Abuja the protesting oil workers carried banners with inscriptions such as ‘Chasing Oil Thieves and Vandals Out Of Business and ‘Oil Theft Is Illegal’.
Speaking to newsmen PENGASSAN President, Festus Osifo, said President Muhammadu Buhari should give a marching order to heads of security agencies tasked with the security of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta.
The PENGASSAN boss threatened that the Nigeria oil workers will withdraw their services should the government fail to take decisive action against oil thieves.
PENGASSAN said the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari must demonstrate the political will to get rid of the multiple rings of oil thieves in the oil sector in Nigeria.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Osifo, said oil theft has crumbled both the business of genuine players in the industry and the Nigeria economy in general. The PENGASSAN leader said the union is no longer willing to sit back and watch the situation deteriorate by the day.
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OSIFO said the union will organise the rallies in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri, Kaduna and Abuja, to show its anger over the menace. He lamented that due to oil theft, Nigeria can no longer meet the OPEC quota of 1.8 million barrels per day, even as the country struggles to produce a million barrels.
Osifo said the union had dialogued with critical stakeholders, agencies of government and service chiefs on how to curb the menace. According to him, the series of meetings had not yielded desired result because cartels are feasting on the economy.
“This is a menace that is overtaking the country. This is the reason Nigeria keeps borrowing to finance the national budget. Enough is enough! We have to add our voices to the current struggle. It is not going to be a one-off thing. Companies are shutting down; our members are losing their jobs in services and production companies”, he said.
Osifo urged service chiefs to hold officers manning pipelines accountable, stressing that anyone who compromises should be made to face the law.