Vice President Namadi Sambo on Wednesday held a crucial meeting with a delegation sent by U.S President, Barrack Obama, to assist Nigeria in solving its oil theft menace.
The closed door meeting held at the Presidential Villa lasted for over two hours and was attended by the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.
The U.S Assistant Secretary of Defence, Sharon Burke, led U.S delegation, while the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, attended the meeting.
Entwistle, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said the delegation was in Nigeria on the request made by President Goodluck Jonathan to Obama.
“A request was made to the U.S President, Barack Obama, by President Jonathan to see how the U.S can help Nigeria deal with the scourge of crude oil theft.
“Based on that request, President Obama put together this delegation and instructed it to come here and see if we can help.
“This delegation has been to Delta and Abuja for few days and met variety of government, people and citizens and oil companies.
“We are not arrogant to think that as Americans, we can just come here and solve a problem on behalf of your country.
“But, what we are trying to do in this delegation is to listen and learn so that we can understand Nigeria and this oil theft problem.
“And of course, there is international dimension to the problem and we want to make sure we completely understand Nigeria and the problem.
“We have had very good meetings including with the vice president and we have come to understand that the more you talk to people, the more you understand the problems,’’ he said.
Burke spoke in the same vein that members of the delegation were drawn from the U.S Department of Energy, the White House and the Department of State and U.S Force for Africa.
“We were told to come and listen to people and understand the nature of the oil theft, revenue loss and what the problem is.
“We have had opportunity to speak with great range of people and we have had a great deal of ourselves.
“We have just met with the vice president and we will be returning home, digest the information we have got, sieve it and then report to Mr President.
“We are going back to Washington tonight, we will review our notes and discussions and then present our findings to President Obama,’’ Entwistle said.
Alison-Madueke said the Federal Government sought the much needed assistant of the U.S Government to address oil theft because of the international dimension to the scourge.
She noted that the effect of oil theft had both national and international dimensions to it.
“The U.S president as you have heard, responded to that partnership and as you can see, a high powered delegation have come to discuss and they have been able to discuss with a number of people.
“We are very hopeful that as they go back, we will continue with the discussion and come with a very salient solution to help us push back the scourge of oil theft once and for all,’’ she said.