By Our Correspondent
The federal government has called on the Nigerian Navy to redouble its efforts towards eradicating crude oil theft in the country.
It, however, lauded the Navy and other Services of the nation’s Armed Forces for the success so far recorded in the fight against crude oil theft.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, made the call on Thursday while addressing officers and ratings of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Sylva was accompanied by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Awwal Ibrahim Gambo, and other senior military officers, as well as management staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
The Minister said: “A few months ago, I led a very high-powered team at the behest of the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, to come here and charge you to ensure that there was no more stealing of our crude oil.
“This is a national asset and Mr. President has mandated that there should be zero tolerance to even the stealing of one barrel of oil. And we brought that mandate to you.
“Today, I am happy to announce that I am back again with word of commendation from your Commander-in-Chief that he has noticed and acknowledged the efforts that you have made to ensure that crude oil theft is stopped.
“There is significant improvement in the production. Nigerians have noticed, the managers in the oil industry have noticed, the international community has noticed.
“But, I am also here to tell you that it is not yet time to rest on your oars. That you must redouble efforts to ensure that the stealing of crude oil is completely and totally eradicated 100 per cent from Nigeria and the Niger Delta.
“So, this is the message we have brought; to actually commend you for the efforts that you have made and to also urge you to redouble efforts to totally and completely stop the stealing of our crude.
“I hope this message from Mr. President to you, officers and ratings, will be a big moral booster.
“At this time, we are quite happy that we have made significant progress but, we will be coming back from time to time to assess and reassess the continued progress that we expect to be making and at last to ensure that crude oil theft in Nigeria is a thing of the past.”
Earlier in his speech, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, said the Minister’s visit, which was sequel to an earlier visit, was mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari.