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Lawmakers want private security to guard oil

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By Abraham Adekunle

Proposed legislation aims to expand security measures to combat oil theft.

The House of Representatives Special Committee on Oil Theft, led by Chairman Alhassan Doguwa, is gearing up to introduce new Legislation aimed at strengthening the role of Private Security firms in safeguarding Nigeria’s valuable oil and gas Infrastructure. This announcement comes in response to ongoing concerns over the rampant theft of oil in the country, despite previous efforts to mitigate the problem. During a recent visit to assess vessels apprehended by Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, a private surveillance company operated by former militant leader Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, Mr. Doguwa highlighted the need for additional measures to tackle Oil Theft effectively.

He emphasized that the proposed legislation will establish a comprehensive framework to regulate the activities of private Security firms operating in this sector. The Nigerian government previously awarded a significant Pipeline surveillance contract worth N48 billion per year to Tompolo’s company in 2021, with the aim of curbing oil theft in the region. However, despite such initiatives, the country continues to experience substantial losses to vandals, prompting concerns from international oil companies and necessitating a shift towards offshore operations.

Doguwa’s proposal to empower private firms for offshore oil protection.

Mr. Doguwa underscored the importance of empowering private security firms to extend their protective services to offshore oil assets, a role traditionally reserved for the Navy. He emphasized the need for a legal framework that allows private institutions like Tantita to operate not only in shallow waters but also in the high seas and deep waters to combat oil theft and vandalism effectively. Protecting Nigeria’s vital oil assets is crucial for meeting OPEC quotas and sustaining economic development, Mr. Doguwa noted. He expressed concerns over the escalating theft of crude oil and the resulting crises in the region, reaffirming the House’s commitment to boosting oil and gas production to drive Economic Growth.

Warredi Enisuoh, the executive director of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, echoed Mr. Doguwa’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of collaboration between the government and private security firms to safeguard oil facilities. He highlighted the limitations of the Navy in covering the entire maritime area and stressed the critical role that private security firms can play in filling existing gaps. Mr. Enisuoh also emphasized the need to guard offshore facilities as vigilantly as pipelines, given the shifting tactics of vandals from land areas to the ocean. He called for increased support and cooperation from government agencies to effectively combat oil theft and vandalism in Nigeria’s waters.

Committees to combat oil theft, address root causes.

In addition to legislative measures, various committees are actively involved in addressing the issue of oil theft and vandalism in the country. These committees include Environment, Host Communities, Niger Delta, Petroleum Resource (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Midstream), Gas Resources, and Petroleum Resources (Training Fund). Their collective efforts underscore the multi-faceted approach required to tackle this complex issue comprehensively. However, addressing Oil Theft in Nigeria requires more than just legislative and regulatory measures. It also demands a concerted effort to address the root causes of the problem, including poverty, unemployment, and inadequate law enforcement.

Improving economic opportunities and social infrastructure in oil-producing regions can help reduce the incentive for individuals to engage in illegal activities such as oil theft. Furthermore, enhancing surveillance and security measures, both onshore and offshore, is crucial to deterring and apprehending oil thieves. Investing in advanced technologies such as satellite monitoring, drones, and surveillance cameras can improve the detection and response capabilities of security forces, making it harder for criminals to operate undetected. Collaboration between government agencies, international partners, and local communities is also essential to effectively combat oil theft and vandalism.

Related Article: Federal set to end crude oil theft in Nigeria

By sharing intelligence, resources, and expertise, stakeholders can enhance their collective capacity to tackle this pervasive problem and protect Nigeria’s valuable natural resources. In all, addressing oil theft in Nigeria requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach that combines legislative reforms, enhanced security measures, socioeconomic development initiatives, and collaborative efforts among stakeholders. By empowering private security firms to operate offshore and strengthening cooperation between government agencies and other stakeholders, Nigeria can better protect its oil and gas infrastructure and promote Sustainable Development in the region.


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