Yenagoa—The Chief Navy Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, has challenged oil exploration companies to provide first line security that would ensure the integrity of their pipelines.
Vice Admiral Ezeoba, who led senior military officers, including the Flag Officer Commanding the Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, Rear Admiral Olutoyin Johnson; Commander, Joint Task Force, Major-General Bata Debiro, among others, on a tour of the creeks of Bayelsa State up to the Brass Island, said the provision of the first line security would help deter would be intruders.
He said the battle against crude oil theft was the collective responsibility of all, and not that of the military alone.
Ezeoba, who stopped at every oil installation during the tour, as well as the naval base operation, Formosa, on the Atlantic fringe of Brass, said: “The fight against the hydra-headed problem of pipeline vandalisation is the collective responsibility of all.
“The oil majors have a role to play. We, as security operatives, are the enforcement agencies that have responsibility for prosecution to ensure that these culprits who had been caught are charged to court, prosecuted and jailed. That would serve as a major deterrent to would be perpetrators.
“What we find today is that there is more of surveillance and response and that of enforcement is negligible. Nobody does anything and it is frustrating the efforts of the officers and men who put their lives on the line on daily basis to fight this menace.
“Having said that, I advocate that whatever we do, they (oil majors) must provide us with proactive capacity that is sustainable. What we do, as it is today, is because of the lack of commitment by the oil companies. They should put in place state of the art, 21st century security apparatus that will make our efforts proactive and preventive rather than being reactionary as it is today.”