The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Wednesday said it was collaborating with law enforcement agencies and other relevant downstream and upstream stakeholders to curb the menace of petroleum products smuggling and crude oil theft.
It named the law enforcement agencies to include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Department of State Services, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, said in a statement issued in Abuja that the move was at the instance of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who mandated the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPC, EFCC and all other security agencies to do everything to stop crude oil theft and illicit truck-out of petroleum products.
The corporation’s boss described the menace as major economic crimes that had hindered Nigerians from enjoying the benefits of subsidised petroleum products.
He urged all industry stakeholders to collaborate with the corporation to ensure that the daily national petroleum products consumption which shot up to 102 million litres in the month of May was brought down to realistic levels of around 60 million litres.
Kyari stressed that it was obvious to all that the volume of petrol was not consumed by Nigerians alone.
He was quoted as saying, “We all agree that smuggling is not a business that should be condoned because even for deregulated petroleum products, it brings extra cost burden on this country both in terms of safety and security of supply and in securing of foreign exchange.
“It even constitutes more burden to this country when the product involved is a regulated product like Premium Motor Spirit.”
The GMD explained that with the increasing price of crude oil at the global market and the OPEC+ production cuts, the country could not afford to shoulder the cost of smuggling.
“We all know that our daily consumption is not up to 60 million litres. We all know that, and that is why we have to pull it down. We will pull it down by every means necessary,” Kyari stated.
He said NNPC would emplace advanced cargo declaration in line with global best practices to tackle the issue of crude oil theft in the country.
On his part, the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, expressed the readiness of the commission to work with the NNPC to ensure that all those involved in the economic sabotage were brought to book.
The Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, Petroleum Tanker Drivers and all the other stakeholders also expressed readiness to partner NNPC to bring an end to petroleum products smuggling.