A new front is opening up in the fight against oil theft in Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta region.
The Association of Nigeria Refineries Petroleum Marketers (ANRPM), on Friday, announced the formation of a task force dedicated to combating oil bunkering, adulterated products, and other illegal activities within the petroleum sector.
Inaugurating the task force in Asaba, the Delta State capital, the Niger Delta Operations Controller, Dr Eldson Nwadiaro, said they had a mandate to flush out all forms of illegalities in the petroleum sector in Niger Delta region.
“Today is for the inauguration of taskforce on bunkering, adulteration of petroleum products, dubious middlemen, artificial scarcity and all forms of illegalities in the sector.
“We have chairmen in the nine states of the Niger Delta, who will carry out this mandate in their respective states. We have local government coordinators.
“We are no to the dubious middle men in the oil sector, no to artificial scarcity which is usually caused by activities of middle men, no to adulteration of petroleum products, no to bunkering and all forms of illegalities in the oil sector.
“We are trying to put a stop to these illegalities in oil sector. We are federal taskforce on this and we have legal backing. We will work with security agencies to ensure smooth operation,” Nwadiaro stated.
Oil bunkering, the illegal theft and sale of crude oil, has plagued the Niger Delta for decades. It not only deprives the Nigerian government of vital revenue but also damages the environment and fuels violence in the region.
READ ALSO:NSCDC nabs pregnant woman, minors for alleged oil bunkering
The ANRPM’s move signifies a growing recognition within the oil industry itself of the need to tackle this problem.
Industry Takes Initiative:
The ANRPM’s task force will reportedly target several key areas:
Bunkering: Disrupting the operations of those involved in the illegal siphoning and sale of crude oil.
Adulterated Products: Combating the circulation of low-quality or diluted petroleum products, which can harm vehicles and pollute the environment.
Dubious Middlemen: Addressing the role of intermediaries who may be facilitating illegal activities within the petroleum sector.
Artificial Scarcity: Countering practices that create artificial shortages of fuel to drive up prices.
The task force will have representatives in all nine states of the Niger Delta, aiming for a comprehensive approach to tackling these issues.
Challenges and Opportunities:
The ANRPM’s initiative presents both challenges and opportunities:
Enforcement Capacity: The effectiveness of the task force will depend heavily on its ability to collaborate with law enforcement agencies and gather necessary evidence.
Community Engagement: Success will also hinge on building trust and cooperation with local communities who may be involved in or impacted by oil bunkering activities.
Transparency and Accountability: The ANRPM must ensure transparency in its operations and hold all actors accountable, including its own members, to avoid accusations of bias.
The ANRPM’s task force is a positive step towards tackling the complex issue of oil bunkering in the Niger Delta. However, long-term success will depend on a comprehensive strategy that addresses not just the theft itself, but also the underlying factors that fuel it.

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