The Chairman of the House of Representatives Special Committee on Oil Theft, Alhassan Doguwa, announced that the House is set to introduce legislation aimed at bolstering the role of private security firms in safeguarding the nation’s oil and gas facilities.
The proposed legislation will establish a comprehensive framework to regulate the activities of such security outfits.
Mr Doguwa spoke on Friday during an on-the-spot assessment of vessels apprehended by Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, a private surveillance company operated by former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo.
The federal government awarded a substantial pipeline surveillance contract worth N48 billion per year to Tompolo’s company in 2021, with the goal of curbing widespread oil theft in the region.
Despite such initiatives, Nigeria continues to experience significant oil losses to vandals, prompting several international oil companies to shift from the onshore sector to offshore.
Mr Doguwa emphasised that the proposed legislation aims to empower private security firms to extend their protective services to oil assets offshore, a role constitutionally reserved for the Navy.
“We will explore the possibility of creating a legal framework that allows private institutions like Tantita not only in shallow waters but also in the high seas and deep waters to combat oil theft and vandalism,” stated Mr Doguwa.
He stressed the need to shield the country’s vital oil assets, essential for meeting OPEC quotas and sustaining economic development.
Expressing concern over the escalating crude oil theft and crises in the region, Mr Doguwa reiterated the House’s commitment to boosting oil and gas production.
“In a recent stakeholder meeting with the Minister of the Economy, the focus was on overcoming challenges hindering increased production,” Mr Doguwa said.
Waridi Eniusoh, the executive director of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, in his remarks, called for enhanced collaboration between the government and private security firms to safeguard oil facilities.
He pointed out that the Navy alone cannot cover the entire maritime area, highlighting the critical role private security firms can play in filling the existing gaps.
Mr Eniusoh emphasized the need to guard offshore facilities as vigilantly as pipelines, considering the shifting tactics of vandals from land areas to the ocean.
The committees involved in the on-site assessment comprised Environment, Host Communities, Niger Delta, Petroleum Resource (Upstream), Petroleum Resources (Midstream), Gas Resources, and Petroleum Resources (Training Fund). (Premium Times)