Director General of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, Dr Peter Idahor, has again reiterated the imperative of arming staff of the agency against pipeline vandals.
Idahor pleaded with the federal government to consider arming staff of the agency even as he demanded closer working relationship with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, to curb the incessant oil spill and pipeline vandalism in the country.
Idabor expressed the need for joint efforts against perpetrators of economic sabotage when he paid a courtesy visit to the Commandant General of NSCDC, Abdullahi Gana Mohammadu, in Abuja yesterday.
Idahor said such partnership was critically important because of the major roles NOSDRA and NSCDC are playing in the Nigerian petroleum industry.
“Because of our mandate of oil spill management in the country and the function to protect our critical infrastructure like oil pipeline,” he said.
Lamenting the incessant oil spill and pipeline vandalism in the country, Idahor said staff of the agency were handicapped because they were not armed like their counterpart security agency to combat pipeline vandals and other third party thieves.
“We are not an armed organisation, we are just like civilians and it is difficult for us. Sometimes when we are out in the field or even when we get to the field and are confronted by armed individuals who have been stealing oil wealth in most cases, we find it difficult to arrest some of the third party stealers of oil products,” he said, stressing that the visit provided them the chance to seek closer working relationship with the NSCDC.
Therefore, he said, NOSDRA urged NSCDC to use its anti-vandal unit to provide security cover for its officers during surveillance of pipelines.
“We want to cement that relationship, seek corporation in that particular area in the hope that we will exchange intelligence on oil spill activities for necessary action.
“We also have pending of our two organisations to build synergy to tackle the case of pipeline vandalism and artisanal refining, that is mainly done in south-south,” Idabor said, stressing that the problem posed by the vandals was not only stealing oil but they also pollute the environment.
“Mr President has approved the cleanup of Niger Delta. We believe that one of the main things before us is to create awareness among young people and stop them from further polluting the environment, apart from stealing resources of the federal government.
“So, we are hoping that NOSDRA and NSCDC will be having a regular interface from now on to tackle the issue before us,” he said.
Speaking also, the Commandant General commended the NOSDRA boss for the visit and promised that NSCDC will corporate with the agency to protect the country’s critical infrastructure.
Mohammadu, who said that NSCDC has deployed 500 staff in charge of this, added that professional and legal advice from the agency will help them take necessary action.

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