Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has commissioned eight gunboats to enable its officers and men to wage full scale war against crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the nation.
The corps commandant-general, Dr. Abubakar Ahmed Audi, said the move became necessary to strengthen the combative capacity of its anti-vandalism squad in stemming the tide of huge revenue loss to the federal government in the oil sector.
Audi, in a statement signed by the NSCDC director of public relations, DCC Odumosu Olusola also announced the launched a special operation to stop oil thieves from further sabotaging the nation’s oil and gas installations.
The NSCDC boss who blamed the nation’s economic downturn on attacks on oil and gas facilities by saboteurs said they will use their operation to dominate the nation’s backwaters through aggressive and intelligence-driven patrols.
Audi warned that Nigeria’s economy will remain vulnerable and weak if illegal bunkering and artisanal refining of crude oil continues unchecked.
He added that the oil and gas sector is the mainstay of the nation’s economy, so, they owe it as a duty to ensure that the country’s economy is salvaged.
He said, “With these gunboats, we will track the oil thieves and secure the pipelines for the economic prosperity of the country.”
While commissioning the gunboats in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the minister of interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola expressed the optimism that it will boost a renewed fight against economic saboteurs.
He described the incidences of oil theft as an organised crime that is ridding the nation of accrued revenue running to millions of dollars annually.