A former President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Comrade Peter Esele, has advised the federal government on how it can stop the challenge of oil theft in Nigeria.
According to Vanguard, Esele who is a former president of the Trade Union Congress enjoined the federal government to adopting a technological approach to prevent the collaboration of officials, oil workers, and community members in the big business of crude theft in Nigeria.
He also identified corruption as the driving factor hindering past and present governments in Nigeria from nipping oil theft in the bud while urging the establishment of modular refineries and the removal of petrol subsidies to prevent further economic losses.
Esele was speaking during an anti-corruption radio programme, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.
Comrade Esele emphasized that systemic corruption is the main factor holding the Nigerian government back from tackling oil theft headlong.
According to Esele, the federal government must take advantage of technology to check oil theft: “Federal government can deploy area surveillance, and aerial surveillance these days is not so expensive, we have drone technology, and that can help.
“It is not just the federal government. Oil theft is affecting you, me, infrastructural development, healthcare, education, and until the federal government decides to stand up and take the challenge frontally, we will continue to talk about it,” Esele warned.
He revealed that the widespread oil theft is an organized venture run by groups in collaboration with security operatives, faulting the government for being unserious with finding a lasting solution to oil theft but only reacting presently because the country is “financially sick.”
To curb the menace, Esele, a former board member of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, urged the federal government first to get the buy-in of the oil-producing communities as the oil theft worsened by their sense of injustice.
An investigative report by the International Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that the volume of crude oil lost to theft and sabotage between 2016 and 2020 can massively provide infrastructure, reduce national debts, and build thousands of Primary Health Centers in Nigeria.