Inter-agency collaboration critical in protection of oil assets  –  Stakeholders

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By Deborah Coker

Stakeholders in the security sector on Friday in Abuja, stressed the need for inter-agency collaboration in the protection of Nigeria’s crude oil and gas assets.

The stakeholders spoke as discussants at the two-day 13th National Security Seminar, organised by the Alumni Association of the National Defence College.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the seminar which commenced on Thursday, had as its theme ‘Curbing Oil Theft and Illegal Crude Oil Refining in Nigeria’.

Speaking on the topic, “Protection of Critical Oil and Gas Infrastructure in Nigeria: Issues and challenges”, the discussants were unanimous in calling for joint action and collaboration of security agencies in protecting crude oil and gas resources and other national assets.

NAN reports that the lecture was delivered by Dr Benito Eze, an Assistant Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

According to AVM Sayo Olatunde, one of the discussants, there is need for collaboration and jointness in operations to effectively safeguard the resources.

He identified bad governance, abject poverty and unemployment as some of the root causes  of attacks on the oil and gas assets in the country.

Mr Kamoru Busari, another discussant from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, said that community-based security outfits should be deployed in protecting oil assets because of their knowledge of the terrain.

Busari said this would eliminate strife from local communities and vandalism of oil infrastructure.

He also recommended the use of technology to reduce person-to-person interface, and the utilisation of hydrocarbon fingerprinting in tracing the origin of crude oil products.

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Also, Prof. A.O Ahmed, Provost CSRS NDC, said  poverty and hunger have contributed to the  damages being recorded of oil and gas facilities.

He added that the degradation of the environment due to exploration activities and oil spills has deprived communities of access to their traditional methods of livelihood.

According to him, this has led to hunger and drug abuse among youths in oil producing communities.

“There is therefore the need to tackle poverty and other factors if we are serious about protecting our crude oil and gas and other national assets,” he added.

Earlier, Eze in his lecture said that protection of oil and gas infrastructure was necessary, just as the safeguarding of communities from man-made and natural disasters.

He said the government should deploy special equipment, and create a forum to ensure unlimited cooperation with locals.

Eze also said there should be a robust framework for arrests, investigation and prosecution, as well as coordination and synergy among security agencies.

He recommended collaboration among relevant formal and private security agencies, including the armed forces and intelligence services to stem crude oil theft.

According to him, there should also be  improved relationships between oil producing communities and International Oil Companies to protect oil and gas assets in the country. (NAN)

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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