Festus Osifo, president, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has accused stakeholders in the oil and gas sector of complicity in oil theft.
On Thursday, PENGASSAN embarked on a nationwide protest, threatening to shut down oil production for 30 days if the federal government fails to curb oil theft.
Speaking on Channels TV’s Sunrise programme on Saturday, Osifo said security agents, host communities and international collaborators were conniving to steal the country’s oil.
“There is total collusion going on in the Niger Delta. That collusion cuts across all stakeholders in the industry cuts across all strata of Nigerians,” he said.
“It includes the security agencies sent to that particular area to man those pipelines, it includes people from the host communities, it includes people that are not from the host communities, they have international collaborators, they have some people who are even working in the oil and gas industry or may have retired. So, it is a big business going on.
“Why do we keep producing and at the end of the day we have some miscreants out there stealing?
“We have engaged them on how to curb this menace of oil theft because, for us, our members cannot continue to labour in vain and for us, on a daily basis, we go into the creeks, we go into the oil production facilities in different parts of the country.
“We cannot keep producing oil and pumping them into pipelines and at the end of the day, majority of the oil is stolen.”
Furthermore, the PENGASSAN president said some oil companies cannot meet the salary obligations of their staff due to the impact of oil theft.
“We have made various recommendations on what can be done for both the long term and the short run but they are foot-dragging to implement these things. For us, it is out of national interest,” he said.