Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta has said that the volume of oil theft in the Niger Delta had reduced from 100,000 barrels to 40,00 barrels per day.
Uduaghan, who disclosed this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential villa, Abuja, said that although the quantity of the stolen crude was still on the high side, with proactive measures by government, the menace would be checked.
Specifically, he said that if the culprits of oil theft were prosecuted and sanctioned accordingly and the right technology deployed for monitoring, the crime would drastically reduce.
“The volume of theft is reducing. As at yesterday, I still heard somebody quoting 1,400,000 barrels of oil being stolen, that is not true.
“At the time it was at its peak, there was a shutdown of about 300 barrels of oil as a result of damage to two major pipelines.
“At that time, between 80,000 to 100,000 barrels were being stolen and that was the time we took some measures to ensure that the quantity that is being stolen is reduced. As at today, I can tell you that the quantity that is being stolen has reduced to about 40,000 barrels per day.
“Those pipelines that were shut down are now functioning, so the 300 to 320 that were shut down as a result of damage to the pipelines have now been opened.
“The stolen 40,000 barrels per day is still on the high side, but as we go further in putting measures in place, especially, the issue of prosecution, the quantity will gradually reduce and if possible we can get it to a zero level.
“Apart from the prosecution we are also looking at technology in monitoring to be able to deal with oil theft,” he said.
Uduaghan also disclosed that the meeting with the President was to avert the planned warning strike by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
He said the President summoned the meeting to find a lasting solution to industrial strikes in the medical sector.
Uduaghan said that the President had conceded to certain conditions that would likely stop the proposed warning strike.
“There were issues that have been raised by the NMA for which members are threatening to go on warning strike that will last for five days.
“The President called a stakeholders’ meeting this afternoon to look at the issues again. We are now going for another meeting now slated for 5.00 pm.
“At least, there are certain things that the President has consented to and I believe that by the time we finished the meeting this evening, there will be some resolutions.
“Our determination is to ensure that the warning strike of Jan. 6 is averted because we cannot afford another strike in the health sector. One minute of strike in the health sector by whatever body could be very disastrous,” he said.
Uduaghan said that the year 2015 would be full of hope and opportunities for the country.
He said he was optimistic that with the proposed national diaolgue, a lot of issues would be resolved and the country will continue to move in the right direction.
Others present at the meeting with the President are Ministers of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Labour Chukwuemeka Wogu and the Executive Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule.