The Federal Government has urged stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to support the government’s efforts on securing infrastructure to enhance the economic and social development of the country.
Making the call at a two-day Niger Delta Infrastructures Security Summit organised by the Nigeria Infrastructures and Business Assets Security Group in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, said that Nigeria as the major oil-producing nation has made a huge investment in critical infrastructure in oil and gas industry ranging from exploration, to transport, pipelines among others.
He said that the theme of the summit, “Infrastructure Security: Responsibility in Collective National Interest” was apt during this period when the Federal Government was trying to focus on resources regularisation of power, oil and gas, transportation, telecommunications and other infrastructures for the collective national interest.
Represented by Alhaji Mohammed Ali, Executive Officer at Federal Ministry for Environment, the Minister said that the industry had seemingly been challenged by air and water pollution, also the limitation of land by contamination as well as climate vegetation by oil and gas, third-party interference, lost of livelihood, diseases impacted on oil communities.
According to the Minister, Nigeria had estimated that over 270 million barrels of national commercial crude oil investment were lost in sabotage between 2015 and 2020 and an estimated revenue loss of $ 14.6 billion due to illegal oil operations.
Abdullahi said; “In 2021 193 million barrels of crude oil was allegedly lost in 11 months due to crude oil theft which translated to an estimated $3.5-billion of revenue about 10 per cent of the country’s oil reserves, and also about 3 million litters spilt, over 370 cases within the first three years to illegal oil extraction and artisanal refining.
He stated that it was sacrosanct for critical oil and gas infrastructure operators or partners and host communities to adopt due care and best practices in other to guarantee a lasting solution to environmental devastation, collective economic losses, safety and security, loss of lives and social infrastructure.
He solicited the support of all stakeholders including the oil and gas operators, host communities and Civil Society Organisations in finding a lasting solution to the dilapidation of critical infrastructures.
He urged stakeholders in the security sector and host communities to protect and safeguard their environment to stop oil vandalisation and achieve the intended goals of economic growth.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana, who was also represented by Dr Cynthia Eguridu, his Technical Adviser said that the theme of the summit would not have been more appropriate if one cannot think of peace and development in the region.
“And also ensuring that the very structure for sustainable economic growth and development in the region for the collective benefits be safeguarded, protected from the risk, abuse or misuse, sabotage and destruction”.
He said that everyone is responsible for the security of infrastructure in the collective national interest.
According to him, the Niger Delta region constitutes 21.4 per cent of Nigeria’s population based on the 2006 census, so infrastructure security is an individual responsibility that all should embrace collectively for regional and national development.
Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, said that the summit would be a wake-up call to stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, power, communications, telecommunications and other sectors to guard, protect and preserve all critical infrastructure in the country.
Pantami who was represented by Mr Adeleke Adewolu, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management Nigerian Communications Commission recalled that over 40,920 cases of fibre optic cable cuts and 1,307 cases of theft were recorded in recent times.
He urged all key stakeholders to drive the message of the summit home to the host communities to achieve results, saying that security infrastructure is the responsibility and collective efforts of all Nigerians.
In his remark, Dr Edmund Daukoru, Chairman of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited who is also the Chairman, Advisory Board, called on key stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the issues of oil and gas vandalisation, power sector and Telecommunications and transportation.
Daukoru, who is also the traditional ruler of Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa State, commended ministries and private supporters for their efforts, saying that asset protection needs much attention as asset expansion and growth.
He mentioned some of the factors limiting the actualization of future potentials and improvement on infrastructure security as geopolitics exclusive, not inclusive.
He added; “Grassroot communities have lost a sense of belonging and see investors and the assets they seek to build as the source of their problems, not the solution thereto.
“Government rather than the private sector is driven economy, low level of literacy and skills, poor sense of patriotism, degradation of physical infrastructure, its direct and derivative value, and negative attitude to it.
He said that the oil and gas sector is of very high replacement cost, although the consequential loss of crude export is the one that dominates the headlines.
According to him, this is because the figures for production loss are easy to access, whereas the very high costs of repairs of production facilities hardly make it to the press.
ALSO READ FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
FG seeks collaboration from Niger Delta stakeholders on securing infrastructure