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Oil&Gas Security: Customs, NSCDC lament insufficient personnel, logistics deficit

The leadership of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) have lamented a gross shortage of personnel as well as logistics assets in combating security challenges in the nation’s oil and gas sector.

Both security agencies revealed this while speaking at the ongoing 17th Oil Trading Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Energy Week, in Lagos.

The Comptroller-General of NCS, Adewale Adeniyi MFR, who was represented by the Area Controller, Western Marine Command, Comptroller Odaudu Salefu, observed that despite the shortage of personnel and limited logistics assets, the Service is tilting towards robust stakeholders collaboration and deployment of technology to curb security threats in the oil sector.

He, however, disclosed that the NCS is set to take delivery of two new security vessels which will further enhance Customs performance in combating smuggling on the nation’s marine domain.

Salefu observed that the issue of fuel smuggling across the nation’s borders remains a delicate one as there aren’t clear boundaries between Nigeria and some of the neighbouring countries.

According to him, some Customs officers have trailed smuggled items into neighbouring countries only to find out that they have strayed into another sovereign state.

Corroborating the NCS views, the NSCDC Commandant General, Dr. Ahmed Audi, stated that the NSCDC has insufficient personnel and shortage of logistics equipment.

The NSCDC boss stressed that security of the nation’s oil and gas assets shouldn’t be left to security agencies and government alone, as every Nigerian citizen has a role to play.

He equally observed that strategic partnerships with sister security agencies and deployment of surveillance technologies have been supportive in securing oil and gas assets.

On his part, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, assured that the Nigerian Navy has sufficient infrastructure to monitor the nation’s territorial waters.

The CNS, who was represented by Rear Admiral Abolaji Orederu, disclosed that Nigeria has been removed from the IBM List of countries known as piracy-prone as a result of Navy and other security agencies anti-piracy activities.

He added that the Navy intends to launch a Maritime Vision Centre in collaboration with other security agencies, stating that the time Vision Centre will be an all-inclusive security approach to address the marine assets of the nation.

The Naval boss, however, observed that although seizes vessels conveying crude or petroleum products without requisite licenses, the subsequent prosecution of the assets and offenders are beyond the Navy’s scope.

The Chief of Army Staff (CAS) Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, who was represented by Gen. Jamal Abdulsalam, expressed concerns that the proliferation of arms in the country makes it more difficult to police the oil and gas industry.

“Most pipeline vandalism occurs in terrains that aren’t motorable, therefore officers have to physically go to the locations. It is a gigantic role to police pipelines in such areas. The use of drones and helicopters in such locations is frequently hampered by bad weather conditions for days. Yet, a lot of crude oil theft can occur in just two days,” Gen. Abdusalam said.

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