ABUJA — The Federal Government as well as state governments, yesterday, agreed to commit N15 billion annually to equip security services to fight crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
Addressing newsmen after a meeting of the National Economic Council, deputy governor of Bayelsa State, John Jonah, said the move is to ensure that security agencies are in a position to secure the country’s oil facilities.
According to him, the committee set up by the Federal Government to check activities of oil vandals has recorded progress and has increased the production level from 1.7million barrels per day to 2.4million barrels per day.
He explained that the “security agencies are professionals, well trained Nigerians and some of whom are laying their lives for you and I that we should get revenue. If you know some of the activities that happen in the Niger Delta area, I know some of my personal friends have died.
“One of the ways you can make a security officer confident is to equip him, and equipping a security agency and telling it what to do are two different things. So what we are trying to do is to ensure that we buy the necessary equipment for them to perform their duty in the areas that we have identified gaps. We also want to make sure that more personnel are available. The terrain is a very difficult one, swamp terrain is a very difficult one.
“In one of the lines between Nembe and Brass we are told that there are about 150 bunkering points and those have been vandalized by crude oil thieves and in process of repairing those ones.
“It is not just soldiers, navy, air force, there are also the police, the civil defence and even the EFCC is there because we are talking of prosecution. Those who have committed offences must be prosecuted, so there is a social procedure set in place by this committee to make sure offenders are tried” he said.
The deputy governor said a lot of repairs have been made and “we are making sure that the levels we are is sustained that is why the facilities that is needed have been approved. We are going to spend about N15 billion over the year and that is what we loose in just few days,” he said.
Speaking on other decisions, the governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi said the agreement reached between the federal and state governments to contribute one percent to fund the police from the federation account would commenced next week.
Governor Obi said: “ What we discussed today was implementation strategy, which states clearly that every money deducted from any state would be used strictly within that state to support its priorities in area of security as provided within police reform strategy. And we are not telling the security agencies what to do, what we said is that we are trying to provide an extra support to them. They know what to do but they need support to do that.”