The Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, has advised members of the Special Investigations Panel on Oil Theft/Losses in Nigeria to be courageous in discharging its assignment, describing the place of crude oil in the economy as “the brain of the country.’’
He wondered why the life wire of Nigeria should be left in the hands of few individuals to “open the body and remove the brain.”
The governor spoke when he received the Chairman and members of the panel on a courtesy visit to him at the Government House, Owerri, yesterday.
Addressing the panel members, led by its Chairman, Major Gen. Barry Ndiomu (rtd), Uzodimma commended Federal Government in setting up the panel for the purpose of “reducing dangerous activities of oil thieves, who are determined to cripple the country’s economy.”
He said the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and other well-meaning persons had long suggested that a special committee be set-up to unravel the crude oil theft in Nigeria. He expressed happiness that the body has eventually been established.
Uzodimma expressed joy that, in recent times, crude oil production level has increased, expressing confidence over the calibre of members of the committee, who he described as “men and women of impeccable pedigree.”
He then charged them to “find the courage to do the work, and expose the thieves, as well as prosecute them.”
Uzodimma stressed that two factors have contributed to successes of oil theft in the country – internal and external security. He noted that internal security appears compromised, not properly mobilised and equipped to fight the malady, while externally, security needs to be properly coordinated.
He told the panel that his administration is doing its best, in conjunction with security agencies, to check oil theft, noting: “Things are getting better than the situation we met in 2020 when we assumed office.”
To achieve better result in taming oil theft in the country, Uzodimma recommended that the fight must involve local communities/vigilantes, the state and federal security agencies.
He assured the panel of his administration’s support to salvage the Nigerian economy and improve the overall well being of the people.
Source: The Guardian