***NTA Director-General Pledges Support For CDC to Combat Oil Theft in Niger Delta
In a stirring call for immediate action, Mr. Joseph Ambakederimo, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Community Development Committees of Niger Delta Oil and Gas Producing Areas (CDC), delivered a compelling plea to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on December 13th, 2023. This impassioned request was made during a courtesy visit to the management of the Nigerian Television Authority, highlighting the pressing need to declare a state of emergency regarding the rampant oil theft situation plaguing Nigeria.
Amidst a backdrop of urgency, Ambakederimo emphasized the grave and existential threat posed by the unchecked surge of oil theft and the ensuing environmental devastation inflicted upon the communities in the Niger Delta. He underscored the CDC’s pivotal role as the spearhead of developmental initiatives and guardians of community security within the Niger Delta region.
“The magnitude of the oil theft crisis and its consequential environmental pollution have wreaked havoc on our communities,” Ambakederimo articulated, stressing the economic disruptions and perilous jeopardy faced by the inhabitants of these regions. He highlighted the strenuous financial strain on federal, state, and local administrations, often resorting to borrowing from both local and international financial institutions to mitigate the profound impact of this crisis.
Quoting the Group CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mallam Mele Kyari, Ambakederimo emphasized the staggering scope of the security challenges in the Niger Delta. Kyari’s revelation of 4,800 illegal connections to over 5,000 oil pipelines nationwide served as a stark testament to the severity of the situation.
Furthermore, he drew attention to the alarming statistics disclosed by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). The staggering loss of 619.7 million barrels of crude oil valued at US$46.16 billion or N16.25 trillion between 2009 and 2020, coupled with the 209 million liters or N4.325 trillion worth of crude oil theft and product losses from 2017 to 2021, underscored the dire economic toll of this crisis.
In an astute observation, Ambakederimo addressed the complicity and silence pervading the communities involved in oil theft. He attributed this complicity to the prolonged neglect of these communities by government agencies responsible for their development, leading to an atmosphere ripe for criminal activities.
Seeking proactive solutions, Ambakederimo proposed collaboration with NEITI for community advocacy and enlightenment campaigns. He stressed the imperative of educating the oil-producing communities on the perils of environmental degradation and the crippling impact of oil theft on the nation’s economy and its citizens.
The climax of his plea lay in a bold recommendation to President Tinubu: declare an emergency on the oil theft situation. Ambakederimo urged for swift and decisive action from the heads of security agencies and the armed forces, demanding accountability and consequences for any breach or illegal refinery operations within their jurisdictions.
In a concluding appeal for collaborative efforts with the Nigerian Television Authority, Ambakederimo signaled a forthcoming strategic engagement aimed at formulating a comprehensive framework and action plan.
Meanwhile, the Director-General Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Mr. Salihu Abdulhamid Dembos, has extended a warm welcome and praised the collaboration to combat oil theft. He emphasized the grave economic impact of oil theft, pledging NTA’s full support for the CDC’s awareness campaign. Additionally, he acknowledged the CDC’s efforts to address pipeline vandalism and highlighted the need for collective action to resolve these pressing issues for the country’s sustainable development.
Amidst this tumultuous crisis, Ambakederimo’s impassioned plea resonates as a clarion call for decisive action, imploring leadership to confront the oil theft scourge that imperils the very existence of the Niger Delta.