The Managing Director of Energia Limited, Felix Amieyeofori, has implored the federal government to grant amnesty to illegal refiners in the country. This, he said, was necessary in order to train the refiners in crude refining and setting up of modular refineries as well as equipping the security forces with modern surveillance vessels, and gadgets to effectively patrol the creeks to check illegal bunkering.
Amieyeofori, who spoke in Lagos at a conference organised by the National Association of Energy correspondents (NAEC), advocated the need to enforce stiffer penalty on illegal refining and bunkering at the end of the amnesty period to prosecute any offender. He also called for the restructure of the JTF into a special force unit under a separate command with strict instruction to clean the mess within a specific time line. He said the country needs to adopt modern deep pipe burying technologies.
“Considering the high level of unemployment in the country, government should consider creating employment opportunities for Nigerian graduates in surveillance of the pipeline right of way, using modern surveillance and monitoring tools,’’ he said.
He further suggested the creation of special court to adjudicate on oil theft cases in the country.
Speaking, Commander, Operation Polo Shield of the Joint Task Force, Major General Emmanuel Atuwe, advocated the need to impose maximum punishment on oil thieves in the country.
Atuwe said those who are arrested over oil theft should be kept in custody on the order of the court until the case is finalized.
He said the development was necessary in order to check the alarming rate of oil theft which, he said, is crippling the nation’s economy. He added that his command has declared zero tolerance for oil theft following its recent arrest of 12 stolen vessels, expressing disgust over the growing level of illegal oil bunkering in the country. He suggested that those who are caught in the act of illegal bunkering should be subjected to speedy trial by the court, saying that if this is done oil thieves will be discouraged from the society. According to Atuwe, there is also need to address the challenge of unemployment in the country by encouraging the establishment of modular refineries through which oil theft can be prevented.
Federal Government has declared that with effect from Ja