The announcement came on the back of the 2014 Nigeria Oil and Gas Week. According to President Goodluck Jonathan, a technical committee has been set up to look into all the facets of implementing the programme to curb the rampant nuisances in the country’s oil and gas sectors.
“The fact that he [Jonathan] has set aside one billion dollars to fight the pipeline vandalism and oil theft is a great thing. It’s a step in the right direction. The issue is not committing the funds. The issue here is about effectiveness and efficiency on how these funds are to be used,” Chris Moghalu, CEO, BTK securities told CNBC Africa.
The committee will also resolve community related issues, boost youth empowerment in oil producing areas and oversee enhanced security of the pipelines and other oil industry infrastructure amongst other corporate social responsibilities.
“I think it’s a big step, a lot of people have talked about the political aspects of this but whatever we can do in terms of security to solve this problem is good. Remember we started this fight pretty late, so I’m just happy that he is trying to do something about it,” he explained.
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President Jonathan, who is currently in the Netherlands for the 2014 global Nuclear Security Summit, consulted with the country’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte who assured him of the country’s commitment to fight against crude oil theft and global terrorism. The Nigerian president has also consulted with European allies however, Moghalu believes the local community are equally as important.
“For me, being an ex US military intelligence specialist, I’m looking at this from an intelligence angle. The local community need to be very much involved. There should be a long term and a short term goal when you are using these funds,” he said.
Moghalu strongly believes that once the president has consulted with all the oil experts, some of the funds need to be put into intelligence as it is one of the huge under explored areas in the fight against crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
“We all need to come together to fight this fight. I said it earlier, we started this fight pretty slow and we are playing catch up. The president and all the IOC’s (International oil companies) need to put heads together to come up with a serious effective and efficient plan to solve the problem,” he added.