Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State, on Thursday called on stakeholders to join forces and work towards eradicating the menace of crude oil theft in the country.
Obaseki, who is the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee of the National Economic Council on Crude Oil Theft, Prevention and Control, made the call at a meeting of stakeholders which held at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in Abuja.
The governor, while speaking at the meeting stated that in the first six months of 2019, the nation lost about 22 million barrels of its crude oil production to oil theft.
He noted that if nothing was done to curtail the ugly trend, the figure could double by the end of the year, adding that the menace of oil theft and pipeline vandalism were beginning to pose a threat to the national economy.
NNPC said it was excited that the menace of oil theft and its twin-evil of pipeline vandalism were receiving attention at the highest level of governance in the country.
The meeting had in attendance the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, and representatives of the governors of Delta, Bayelsa, Ondo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.
Also in attendance were representatives of the Police, Navy, Army, Civil Defence, International Oil Companies and some indigenous operators.
In its June 2019 Monthly Financial and Operations Report released recently, NNPC announced a staggering 77 per cent rise in the cases of oil pipeline vandalism across its network of pipeline infrastructure.
The report stated that 106 pipeline points were breached, which was an increase from the 60 points vandalised in May 2019.