Speaking at the 16th edition of the Maritime Seminar for Judges organized by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Jamoh described oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining as unlawful activities capable of threatening the economic and environmental well-being of the country.
He said the aircrafts from the mobile assets of the deep blue project, will support existing platforms being deployed by other security agencies, which NIMASA has subsisting Memorandum of Understanding with.
Jamoh, according to a statement issued by NIMASA on Friday explained that the aircrafts would assist in patrolling oil facilities, installations and other assets to observe suspicious human and vessel movements in and around the facilities
The NIMASA DG while restating the agency’s commitment to a crime free and secure maritime domain, reminded participants at the seminar of President Muhammadu Buhari’s interest in rebuilding stakeholders and investors’ confidence in the country’s maritime sector.
According to him, approval of the President for procurement of the assets, his coming to commission them in Lagos and their deployment for security duties have contributed immensely to the fight against maritime crimes.
He said, “We shall be deploying our two special mission aircrafts for aerial surveillance to prevent and fight oil theft in the country. With this, we aim at using the aircrafts to patrol sensitive areas, record suspicious human and vessel movements to process intelligence for timely action by our security agencies
“The oil industry is critical to our national economy and no space of the sector should be left for criminals to occupy or operate. We have recorded gains in our maritime security efforts and more needs to be done to sustain and consolidate on these gains.
Within a three months period covering January 1 and March 31 this year, Nigeria lost a whopping amount of $1bn revenue to crude oil theft.
The theft of crude oil has been frustrating the efforts of the government in attracting fresh investments into the oil and gas industry through the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act.
Three months ago, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva the Chief of Defence Staff Lucky Irabo and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroluem Company Ltd Mele Kyari, visited the Niger Delta for an on-the-spot assessment of the damage done by vandals.
Shortly after the visit, a military operation followed immediately to smoke vandals out of the creeks.
Currently, the Nigerian Navy is carrying out serious military operations in the Niger Delta to ensure that oil and gas assets are protected.
The theft of crude oil has been having a negative effect on the revenue of the federal government, which has denied the country the much-needed fund to boost economic development.
Apart from revenue loss, the issue of oil theft is currently threatening not just the NNPC’s quest for energy security for the country, it is also having a debilitating effect on Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
Nigeria relies on crude oil revenue for over 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings.