ABUJA – Mr Kingsley Kuku, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, on Friday, urged the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to review the Pipeline Protection Programme to check oil theft in the country.
Kuku made the call in Abuja while briefing the Senate Committee on Niger Delta on the 2014 budget proposal for the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
He faulted the arrangement where people were contracted to protect oil pipelines that were outside their immediate communities, saying this was responsible for oil theft.
He argued that pipelines would be better protected and oil theft would be checked if members of the host communities were engaged in the Pipeline Protection Programme.
Kuku said the concept of the initial programme packaged by the NNPC did not meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, especially the host communities and people of the Niger Delta.
He added that “the committee should cause the NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum to immediately review the Pipelines Protection Projects which was stopped since January 2012.
“Let us immediately review it and get the communities involved, not individuals who don’t have stake in the project, but communities of the Niger Delta hosting oil and gas infrastructure.
“I am from Arugbo in Ondo State, it is not possible to give me a contract to protect the pipelines in Bomadi in Delta.
“The man who can protect the pipeline in Akwa Ibom is the Akwa Ibom man who is a stakeholder. A man from Rivers cannot go and protect it.”
The special adviser expressed regret that oil companies had refused to support the amnesty programme in the provision of education and skills acquisition training for youths in the Niger Delta.
“The oil and gas industry has not in any way practically supported and helped this programme positively.
“Meanwhile, they are the first beneficiaries of the peace we have been able to create in the region.
“This programme has been successfully funded by the National Assembly and Mr President and the Executive arm alone,’’ he said.
The Presidential Adviser urged state governments in the Niger Delta to use some of their allocations to replicate the amnesty programme to assist in training of some of their indigenes.
He said N66.7 billion was allocated to his office in 2013 for the implementation of the amnesty programme. (NAN)