Uyo — No fewer than 163 persons have been arrested and 60 convicted by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps for oil theft, pipeline, power holding Company of Nigeria and Nigerian Telecommunications Limited cables vandalisation in the last six months in Akwa Ibom State.
The Commandant, Akwa Ibom State Command, NSCDC, Mr. Pedro Ideba, disclosed yesterday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital at a one day stakeholders' sensitisation forum on anti-vandalism to be held in Uyo on September 4. Explaining the danger of oil theft and vandalisation in country, Ideba said the sensitisation forum with theme, "Oil theft, vandalism, internal insurgency: A bane on national development/protection of critical assets and infrastructure," was aimed at addressing the situation.
Resource persons, he said, were invited from stakeholders including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and ExxonMobil as well as from the academia.
"We warn those who are directly involved in oil theft to desist from the practice. Oil theft has drastically reduced Nigeria's economy. It is the major reason why states have delayed or sometimes zero allocations
"We have been able to map out a lot of strategies. On Tuesday, there is going to be a rally to further inform the people of our objectives, which is to educate the people about the danger of pipeline vandalisation, both on land and on seas.
"The vandalisation so done in the high seas, further damages our aquatic lives. On land, our soil nutrient is being affected adversely. Therefore the manures in the soil have been damaged. As our people are mostly farmers, these are affecting them adversely", he said
According to him, the crisis in vital sector of the economy was due to the oil theft and now demanded for a roundtable discussion on how to stop same.