The attention of PENGASSAN and NUPENG has been drawn to a statement credited to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku in various newspapers and online media of July 18, 2013 in which he declared disingenuously that oil workers were the brains behind crude oil theft in the country. That claim would have been laughable were it not tragic coming from a government official.
Both Unions take serious exception to such perturbing, cynical, alarming claim which we strongly believe was clownishly and flippantly discharged, unmindful of its implication and ramifications. The statement is nothing short of accusing the victim of a crime of the crime itself. It is public knowledge that the alarming rate of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalisation not only imperils the jobs of our members but has also led to the death of some of our members while carrying out repairs of ruptured pipelines.
Rather than cast aspersions on innocent, hardworking people, Mr. Kuku would do well to view the increasingly alarming rate of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta as a dysfunction of the activities of his Amnesty Office which has made emergency millionaires of some militant leaders while the foot soldiers wallow in penury as well as failure to address the huge infrastructural and socio-economic development deficit in the Niger Delta region.
Oil Workers’ Unions under the aegis of PENGASSAN and NUPENG have consistently over the last one year raised alarm over the increasing rate of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalisation and its threat to not just government’s revenue which seems to be the main concern of government but also its threat to the environment, investment and national security because people who steal more than 250,000 barrels/day of crude oil (more than double the total production of Ghana) can destabilize any government.
Indeed, we held an emergency joint National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja on July 2, 2013, essentially on this issue and reiterated our demand that all cases of pipeline sabotage, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and refining activities under whatever guise must be decisively dealt with. We equally demanded to be part of the high-powered committee of the Federal Government on this key mission which findings and recommendation we hope will be accorded expedient action by the appropriate authority to essentially sustain confidence in the oil and gas industry and socio-economic security for all of us as Nigerians knowing that the industry is the lifeline of our economy.
We challenge the authorities on its readiness to join forces with the national and states’ intelligent, defence and security agencies in the patriotic crusade to completely unearth and get to the bottom of this criminality and national calamity so that the both the Nigerian public and international community some of whom already know and relate with the culprits or the syndicates will not be deceived or fooled by people like Kingsley Kuku.
Mr. Kuku seems to want to build his reputation on wild and unguarded statements; he made one of such reckless statements on his recent trip to the US. The Special Adviser to the President must be called to order against such unguarded, unsubstantiated and provocative utterances in the interest of industrial peace and respect for our nation and more so that he doesn’t continue to embarrass himself and the government he claims to serve.
Mohammed Seyi Gambo
National PRO NUPENGASSAN