FG has achieved a lot in fight against oil theft – Defence minister

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By Deborah Coker

The Minister of State for Defence, Dr Bello Matawalle, says the Federal Government has achieved a lot in the fight against oil theft.

Matawalle, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Abuja, said that many practical gains had been recorded in the resolve to end oil theft in the Niger Delta region.

He also said that the country was hopeful of producing 1.9 million barrels of crude oil per day before the end of the year.

“Before now, due to oil theft activities in the Niger Delta region, oil production dropped to about one million barrels per day.

“But, with the Federal Government’s actions and the onslaught of the combined military against oil thieves, the production stands at 1.7 million barrels per day currently.

“We are hoping that at the end of this year, we will reach about 1.9 million barrels per day,” he said.

He revealed that measures had been put together at the Naval headquarters to detect and know all that is happening in the stream and all maritime areas.

“We are taking serious actions. Operations have been conducted in that area. Most of the illegal panels were destroyed, most of the people were arrested and, with the level we are today, we are okay,” Matawalle said.

The minister said that the ministry was working in synergy with all the security agencies.

“We work together by sharing intelligence. We shall continue to work together,” he declared.

He added that the lack of synergy among security agencies had also been addressed and there has been an improved relationship among them, unlike before.

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“So, I can tell you that we have no problem with synergy as of now. They are all working together,” he said.

On the number of sponsors and financiers of Boko Haram terrorists arrested or prosecuted, the minister said that action had been taken against them.

“Be rest assured that action has been taken and we recorded lots of successes by the security agencies.

“Many people were arrested and investigation is ongoing; further action will be taken after the investigation is completed,” he said.(NAN)

Edited by Ephraims Sheyin

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