Oil Theft: Security Firms Saves Nigeria $43.2m Daily

Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd., a private security contractor with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd., says its activities in combating crude oil theft have saved Nigeria over $43.2 million daily.

The Executive Director, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd., Capt. Warredi Enisuoh, said this at the maiden Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) annual lecture on Wednesday in Lagos.

The lecture had the theme: ‘Maritime Security: Emerging Threats and Actionable Steps.’ Enisuoh while highlighting the crucial roles of private security operators disclosed that dealers in crude oil theft plant Closed-Circuit Television cameras in creeks to monitor their illicit activities.

He said there were places where grass may not grow for the next 100 years because of crude oil spills caused by these perpetrators. “In the past, these operators utilised fire to process the crude oil but they realised that security operators have drones and night vision capabilities to see the fire trails.

“So, they moved to electricity. When they realised we discovered their illicit activities with electric, they translated to phosphoric acid.

“They pour the crude oil into several drums and pour phosphoric acid and wait for six hours for the acid to convert the crude to diesel that will be fetched from the top,” he said.

Enisuoh, a former Director of Shipping Development at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, noted that the perpetrators of crude oil theft moved away from the land areas to the creeks to attack oil well heads.

“They connect hoses from the wellheads into their storage. These transactions usually take place at night, as they go to the wellheads with canoes to fetch crude oil without minding the pollution or possibility of a fire outbreak.

“ If the pressure isn’t strong enough, they use a reservoir to fetch the oil. Some of these oil connections flow through cassava farms and farm settlements,” he said.

Speaking on the activities of private security operators in Secure Anchorage Area (SAA), Enisuoh wondered why a nation would carve out a portion of water-like land and sell it to somebody. “With SAA, a vessel is entering the place and you say no you cannot enter here because you did not pay.

“However, the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea declared the right of passage on the waters for vessels? Nigeria is a signatory to that law, so I am sorry if I made mistakes at that time with my conviction about SAA.

“Nonetheless, I still stand by it. I will never ever entertain the situation in my country where people will pay to access the waters,” he said. In his welcome address, the President of MARAN, Mr Godfrey Bivbere, expressed concern over huge crude oil theft recorded in Nigeria; and the concomitant adverse effects it had on the national economy.

Bivbere noted that this had reportedly led to the gradual but increasing dwindling economic fortunes of the country.

“While MARAN is of the view that the establishment of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) Maritime Collaboration Forum for the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction had enabled industry partners within the region to connect and interface on the right strategies to raise the bar in tackling these challenges.

“l am constrained to say that the responses are not achieving set targets, effectively and efficiently. The International Maritime Bureau report of July 2023 confirmed that the GoG witnessed a surge in maritime incidents in 2023, with five such incidents in the first quarter and nine in the second quarter.

“Out of these, 12 were classified as armed robberies and two as piracy, predominantly targeting anchored vessels within the region,” he said. Also in his goodwill message, the former President Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria, Mr Isaac Jolapamo, decried the state of security on the waterways.

According to him, there is a lot to be said about security of Nigerian waters before it extends to the Gulf of Guinea and this dates back to over 40 years. Jolapamo decried the pitiable state of the present Nigerian shipowner, stressing that shipowners should be heard and not seen.

The event was attended by several maritime bigwigs including; the Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho; former President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Prince Olayiwola Shittu; President General, Maritime Worker’s Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju; and President, National Association of Master Mariners, Capt. Tadjudeen.

Others were the President of NISA, Mr Sola Adewunmi; former President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Chief Eugene Nweke and the Publisher, Shipping Position Newspaper, Mr Sesan Onilemo, among others.

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