We’ll get serious about oil cheats, abductors- president Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari  

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday promised that his administration would deal decisively with the seeming resurgence of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and insecurity in the Niger Delta.

Niger Delta militants had on Thursday launched fresh attacks on oil facilities in Delta State, blowing up the Escravos-Warri-Abuja-Lagos pipelines.

The militants also blew up the Chevron Nigeria Limited’s Utunan-Makaraba crude oil pipeline on Friday and proceeded to bomb the Olero gas pipeline on Saturday.

The attacks were suspected to be aimed at crippling the nation’s crude oil production.

But the President said while the Nigerian Armed Forces had already dealt “deadly blows” on Boko Haram, the activities of oil thieves and vandals would also soon be brought to an end.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President spoke during an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“The oil thieves and abductors are a less problematic target. We will re-organise and deal with them,” Buhari told Nigerians in the Arab country.

The President urged telecommunication companies, operating in Nigeria, not to place their desire for huge profits above the security needs of the country.

Buhari explained that the war against terrorism could only be won with the collective effort and a commitment by all stakeholders to work in unison to halt the scourge.

In apparent reference to the recent fine imposed on MTN Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission, the President said the registration of all mobile telephone users without exception would help the security agencies to pre-empt terrorist attacks.

He said telecommunication companies, operating in Nigeria, must adhere to the rules and guidelines of the NCC.

Buhari also assured Nigerians at the interactive session that his administration’s war against corruption would continue to be vigorously pursued.

He pledged that more persons, who had abused the public trust, would be exposed and brought to justice soon.

The President added that his government was committed to re-establishing accountability and probity in the management of public funds which, he added, were jettisoned under past administrations.

Buhari appealed for more patience and understanding from Nigerians as his administration took steps to safeguard the economy from the shock of falling oil prices.

“In the face of our new economic reality of dwindling oil prices, there are a number of things we can really do without in order to preserve our economy.

“We must develop the capacity to feed ourselves and we should be spending our resources on real development projects, not luxuries,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters has sent out a strong warning to criminal elements, who attacked the nation’s pipelines in the Warri South-West Area of Delta State.

The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said in a statement on Tuesday that the destruction of the strategic assets of the country would no longer be tolerated.

Abubakar added, “These attacks were carried out by some criminal elements, who are bent on destroying the nation’s strategic assets which will no longer be tolerated.

“The recent attacks on an oil facility in Delta state are a pointer to this direction.

“Consequently, any individual or group of persons, who engage in any act of sabotage to the nation’s strategic assets, will face the full weight of the law as the military and other security agencies will ensure total protection of such facilities wherever they are in line with our constitutional mandate.

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