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Thursday, July 25, 2024

NNPCL Calls For Establishment Of Special Court Over Crude Oil Theft.

For the oil and gas industry to achieve its full potential as an enabler of national economic and industrial growth, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, has called for the support of the judiciary in tackling the twin challenges of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Kyari made the call at the National Judges Capacity Building Workshop on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and INVESTIN 234, on Thursday in Abuja.

In a goodwill message he delivered at the workshop, the GCEO stated that the gains of the PIA have been severely undermined by crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism, and urged the judiciary to consider the creation of a special court to try offences related to crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism or granting accelerated hearings to such cases.

According to him, the role of the judiciary was critical to the success of the efforts of the various security arrangements put in place by NNPC, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in the industry.

“In particular, is the recommendation that a special court be created to try those offences as they hinge on our survival as a country, and/or for such trials to be conducted under an accelerated hearing process by the issuance of Practice Directions to that effect, with concomitant sanctions to deter would-be offenders,” Kyari stated.

The GCEO also called on the judiciary to accelerate the hearing of criminal cases in their courts, through timely determination of the criminal charges, and imposing adequate punishments and sanctions on culprits to serve as deterrence to others.

He said NNPC remained committed to collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the PIA, adding that “together, we can ensure that the benefits of our natural resources are maximized for the economic and social development of our country”.

Kyari also commended the Chief Justice of the Federation, Olukayode Ariwoola and the organisers of the workshop for extending an invitation to him and the opportunity to deliver a goodwill message at the workshop.

The call came as the country battles pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft, which had crippled its oil production.

Channels Television had few days ago, reported how the country’s crude oil production, dropped to 1.2 million barrels per day in April 2024, according to statistics from the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The drop in production is a far cry from the 1.5mb/d quota for the country by OPEC+.

Crude oil production has consistently remained on the low from previous years, despite war against crude oil theft by the NNPCL, which had seen tons of illegal refineries destroyed in the Niger Delta.

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