The President of Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, Akinade Olatunji, on Sunday, said that increased security surveillance cannot solve oil theft in Nigeria.
He made this disclosure after his installation as the 32nd president of the society, held at Citron Hotel, Onireke, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Olatunji lamented that the issue of oil theft had now attained the stature of a Frankenstein monster to the extent that the quantum of oil stolen now outstrips the quantum being sold legitimately.
The president, therefore, proposed that “there is a need for the community to have a sense of ownership of the assets in their land. The approach of applying tokens to communities who are aware of the humongous resources being carted away from their land does not engender patriotism and a sense of belonging. “The Petroleum Industry Act is a great attempt at removing the opacity and inconsistencies that have characterised the oil and gas sector in the country in the last 20 years. Yes, to increased security but that alone cannot solve the problem
“There must be strategic and deliberate actions directed at ensuring that the communities own or co-owner these assets. The oil-producing communities in Nigeria are overdue for a sort of marshall plan that will transform them from the ghetto setting to the glorious setting they have seen in cities built with money from their resources.
“The amount of resources allocated to oil communities in the PIA is not sufficient to guarantee the kind of safety on investment that is required for the continuous survival and profitability of the oil and gas sector in the long run. This is an aspect of PIA that needs to be urgently amended; otherwise, the entire prospects expected of the bill may be jeopardised,” he said.
In his lecture titled, “Harnessing the Myriads of Geoscience Solutions as Panacea to Rapid Development of the Nigerian State,” the founder and Executive Chairman of AA Holdings, Austin Avuru, said the huge wealth created in Nigeria by oil and gas production and export had completely beclouded the early successes of geoscience applications in mining and mineral exploration.
He, however, urged Nigerians and governments at all levels to look beyond the oil and gas industry and apply critical solutions to unlock the enormous value of other resources that Nigeria is so lucky to be endowed with, adding, “By doing this, we would be building a much larger, more diversified and much more stable economy for the Nigerian state.”