As part of efforts to stem the tide of oil losses through theft, the Delta State Government has proposed a law seeking the forfeiture of property used in the illegal act.
The state government is worried that oil production challenges have remained unabated as pipeline sabotage has continued to result in crude oil losses.
It claimed that the economic sabotage is worsening despite ongoing amnesty and other measures taken to address crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
As a result, the state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has forwarded an executive bill to the state House of Assembly seeking legislative backing to contain the trend.
The bill titled “A Bill for a Law for the Delta State Forfeiture Law and other Matters Connected Therewith’ was contained in a letter by the governor which was read during plenary by the Speaker of the House, Sheriff Oborevwori.
According to the governor in the letter, the losses as a result of oil theft coupled with the high cost of production, “have hampered the nation’s earnings from oil which invariably is affecting the states, Delta inclusive.
‘Regrettably, experience has shown that the illegal storage of crude oil are perpetuated using property such as premises, caravans, vehicles, vessels, aircraft and other forms of containers.
‘It has, therefore, become necessary to nip this ugly trend in the bud by ensuring that those who use or provide their property to commit an offence are held liable.
‘For the purpose of this law, a property is said to have been used to commit such offence where an element of the acts which constitutes the offence took place on the property, or where the property has been used for the storage of crude oil.
‘In view of the socio-economic benefit of the bill to the state, therefore, I wish to forward for the consideration of the passage into law by the House, a bill for a law for the Delta State forfeiture law, 2021 and any other matters connected therewith.’