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NNPCL Calls For Establishment Of Special Court To Curb Crude Oil Theft In Nigeria

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The chief executive officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, has stressed the need for judicial backing in addressing the two major issues of crude oil theft and pipeline destruction.

According to Kyari, the establishment of a special court will allow the oil and gas industry to fully unlock its potential as a catalyst for both national economic and industrial advancement.

Naija News reports that Kyari stated this in his speech during the National Judges Capacity Building Workshop on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, hosted by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and INVESTIN 234, on Thursday in Abuja.

In his welcoming remarks at the workshop, the Group’s Chief Executive Officer highlighted how the benefits of the PIA had been significantly compromised by the ongoing problems of crude oil theft and pipeline damage and called on the judiciary to think about establishing a specialized court for prosecuting crimes related to crude oil theft and pipeline damage or to expedite the process of these cases.

He stressed that the judiciary plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of the security measures implemented by the NNPC, law enforcement bodies, and other participants in the industry.

“In particular, is the recommendation that a special court be created to try those offences as they hinge on our survival as a country, and/or for such trials to be conducted under an accelerated hearing process by the issuance of Practice Directions to that effect, with concomitant sanctions to deter would-be offenders,” Kyari stated.

The GCEO also urged the judiciary to speed up the resolution of criminal cases within their courts by promptly deciding on the charges and imposing suitable penalties and sanctions on offenders to act as a deterrent to others.

He mentioned that NNPC is dedicated to working with all relevant parties to ensure the effective execution of the PIA, stating that “collectively, we can make the most of our natural resources for the economic and social progress of our nation.”

Kyari also praised the Chief Justice of the Federation, Olukayode Ariwoola, and the organizers of the event for inviting him and giving him the chance to share a positive message at the event.

This appeal was made amidst the struggle against pipeline vandalism and the theft of crude oil, which has severely impacted the country’s oil output.

Recently, Naija News reported that the country’s crude oil output fell to 1.2 million barrels per day in April 2024, as per data from the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

This decrease in output is a significant decline from the 1.5 million barrels per day target set by OPEC+.

Crude oil production has been consistently low compared to previous years, despite efforts by the NNPCL to combat crude oil theft, which has led to the destruction of numerous illegal refineries in the Niger Delta.

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