Nigeria’s oldest maritime advisory council, the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (NPCC) has urged the Goodluck Jonathan-led government to eliminate conditions and opportunities that were promoting oil bunkering if it was serious about ending the oil theft menace that has become one of the greatest contemporary threats to the country’s economy.
Membership of the Council cut across all the key sectors in the Nigerian economy, such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, the economic ministries—Finance, Transport, Trade; the agencies in the maritime sector—NIMASA, NPA, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the Inland Waterways Authority; leading multinational and indigenous shipping companies and the Chamber of Commerce.
Chairman of the Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin, told LEADERSHIP in an exclusive interview in his Marina Office that government would continue to lament huge income leakage through oil theft for decades to come if it failed to overhaul the port system and establish the much needed interconnectivity of all port stakeholders for effective sharing of vessel movement and cargo information.
The NPCC chief also expressed concern that some governors of coastal states were toying with the issue of developing deep seaports in their states without considering the fundamentals of such huge capital and technically intensive infrastructure.
He said:“The federal government must remove the opportunity for oil theft before the menace can stop. Even if you are going to kill everybody operating in the maritime sector, there will still be attempt to re-evolve any misdemeanour in oil operations because the opportunity is still there. You see, it’s just like when you put a bowl of sugar here and ants are coming for the sugar. You may kill a million ants today, but tomorrow more ants will still come for the sugar. But if you remove the sugar, you will not have to get an insecticide, because the ants will no longer be there.”