FG targets 1.9m bpd as war against oil theft intensified – Minister

The Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, says the Federal Government has achieved a lot in the fight against oil theft.

Matawalle, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, said many practical gains had been recorded in the resolve to end oil theft in the Niger Delta region.

He also said the country was hopeful of producing 1.9 million barrels of crude oil per day before the end of the year.

“Before now, due to oil theft activities in the Niger Delta region, oil production dropped to about one million barrels per day.

“But with the Federal Government’s actions and the onslaught of the combined military against oil thieves, the production stands at 1.7 million barrels per day currently.

“We are hoping that at the end of this year, we will reach about 1.9 million barrels per day,” he said.

He revealed that measures had been put together at the Naval headquarters to detect and know all that was happening in the stream and all maritime areas.

“We are taking serious actions. Operations have been conducted in that area. Most of the illegal panels were destroyed, most of the people were arrested and, with the level we are today, we are okay,” Matawalle said.

The defence minister said the administration of President Bola Tinubu had invested heavily in modern weapons and equipped the military well to bring an end to all forms of crimes, including banditry and oil theft.

“I just returned from a trip to Turkey and you need to see the attack helicopters that we acquired.

“In fact, some of them are in Lagos now and it’s very special. And, as I said, this is not just for the Army alone, the Navy has its own, as well as the Air Force.

“So, with the coming of this government, the President has tried a lot by giving us all we need to work. So, we have no reason to complain and to fail Nigerians because, all we need, he has already provided for us.

“We have keyed into modern technology. We are ready for the challenges confronting us. Nigerians should be very proud of this government.

“We will be thrilled to work for the country. We want everyone to assess our performance steadily and come back here and thank the President, the Ministry of Defence, and our military for a job well done,” he said.

He added that the Nigerian soldiers were well prepared for modern challenges just as the nation had strong training institutions to ensure that those going to handle the equipment were well prepared to do so.

He revealed that some of the soldiers had gone for training, both within and outside the country, on handling the equipment before the equipment was brought.

“The institutions we have are capable. For example, if you go to the Defence College, you will see many people, including Germans.

“They send their army here to take training courses in our Defence College.

“Many other countries, including Japan, and some European countries, do the same.

“We have capable training institutions that can train the military, both inside and outside the country,” he said.

(Punch)

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