In a concerted effort to combat the scourge of pipeline vandalism and oil theft plaguing the Niger Delta, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has embarked on a diplomatic initiative seeking the support of traditional rulers in Bayelsa State. This move aligns with the Federal Government’s commitment to fostering collaboration with key stakeholders in the oil industry and tackling the persistent challenges faced by oil communities in the region.
The Federal Government, along with oil sector operators, has consistently attributed the decline in Nigeria’s oil earnings to the incessant cases of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta. The country reportedly lost about N289.6 billion in crude oil revenue in November 2023, primarily due to a significant drop in oil output caused by these illicit activities.
According to a statement from Lokpobiri’s Special Adviser, Media and Communication, Nneamaka Okafor, the minister engaged in several meetings with traditional rulers to address these challenges. One of these encounters took place with the Pere of the Ekpetiama clan and Chairman of the Traditional Rulers’ Council of Bayelsa State, King Bubaraye Dakolo. During the meeting, Lokpobiri emphasized the necessity of collective efforts to curb pipeline vandalism and oil theft, urging the traditional ruler to leverage his esteemed position to rally others for a unified front against these challenges.
The minister also extended his courtesy visit to the King of the Nembe Kingdom and former Minister of Petroleum, Edmund Daukoru. Discussions during this meeting focused on the significance of collaborative action in ensuring pipeline security and combating illicit activities in the oil sector.
In another engagement, Lokpobiri met with the Pere of Kumbowei Kingdom, Boloye Embareba, with discussions centering around the critical need for collaboration between the government and traditional rulers to effectively address security challenges and enhance crude oil production. This diplomatic approach underscores the importance of a unified front between the government and local leaders to combat the longstanding issues affecting the oil-rich region.