The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday advised the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to engage the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to identify markets for stolen products across the continent.

The meeting was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and has governors, among others, as members.

Gov. Godwin Obaseki told State House correspondents that the NEC’s 13-member ad hoc committee which he chaired submitted its report to the NEC.

Obaseki said that the committee was constituted to address the impact of vandalism, oil theft and bunkering on oil production.

He said it was also to check the effectiveness of the activities of the joint task force and other security agencies in curbing the menace of oil theft.

Obaseki said that the ad hoc committee discovered that there were huge losses as the NNPC reported to it that the 22.6 million barrels of crude oil valued at approximately 1.35 billion dollars were lost during the first half of this year.

He said that the NNPC’s report showed that if the situation was not contained in two years we would have lost in excess of 2.7 billion dollars.

“Therefore, the adhoc committee made the following recommendations–that there is a need to restructure the maintenance and ownership of oil pipelines as a way of tackling the perpetrators of crude and other products.

“That we should have a legal framework that will ensure that criminals are duly prosecuted, imprisoned and their assets confiscated.

“That there should be special courts to trial offenders and also have a special legal task force to coordinate the prosecution of arrested offenders as well as trained special judges to handle cases of oil theft.

“That NNPC should be encouraged to engage with the NIA to identify the markets for stolen petroleum products across the continent.

“That the governors of the oil producing states should set up actions to develop the communities that are most prone and through which these pipelines run with their 13 per cent derivation allocation as well as implement programmes that will be impactful and make life easy for the people,” Obaseki said.

He said that the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NNDC) which had the mandate to undertake development in the region should be restructured to perform its role better.

The governor said the council resolved in that recommendations should be presented to the president who is also the Minister of Petroleum for the final decision for implementation.

He said that the chairman of the council also asked the NNPC to make a presentation to council on the state of PMS and other products which were smuggled across the borders.dp

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