Ribadu: govt winning battle against oil theft, banditry
Yusuf Alli, Bassey Anthony, Uyo and Sanni Onogu, Abuja
November 17, 2023
Oil production has risen to 1.7bpd
Senate invites Service chiefs for briefing
The Federal Government’s battle against general insecurity, especially oil theft in the Southsouth, banditry and kidnapping is yielding dividends, National Security Adviser (NSA) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu said yesterday.
He restated the determination of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration to end the myriads of security challenges slowing down Nigeria’s economic development.
The NSA cited the rise, within five months, in the production of crude which hovered from 1mbpd/1.2mbpd to about 1.7mbpd as clear evidence of the success recorded against economic saboteurs in the oil-producing region.
He said with the ongoing battle against oil thieves and restiveness in the Niger Delta, the nation’s crude oil production has risen close to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production quota of N1.8mbpd.
Ribadu spoke of the government’s ambitious plan to raise the stake to 2mbpd next year.
The NSA gave insights into how the government was tackling insecurity nationwide at the 19th All Nigeria Editors Conference (ANEC) 2023 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He assured Nigerians that the Federal Government will put an end to Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast, restiveness and oil theft in the Niger Delta, violence in the Southeast, and banditry and kidnapping in the land, especially in the Northwest and the Northcentral.
The NSA said: “By the 1st of June, 2023 when we took over, we had four acute security challenges including Boko Haram and Islamic insurgency; the crisis and oil theft in the Niger Delta; banditry and kidnapping; and violence in the Southeast.
“Each of these four massive problems is capable of bringing the nation to its knees.
“I assure you that the President and his team are working round the clock to solve the security problems.
“It (insecurity) is something that will take a while to confront but we will end it.
“We are getting it right and as a matter of fact, it will be better. The leadership we have today works more and talks less.
“Most of the time, we don’t want what we have put in place or done to go out because we have bad people we are fighting.
“Opening the book will undermine what we are planning.”
Lacing his claims with facts and figures on how the government attained significant gains in five and a half months, the NSA said the curtailing of the crisis and oil theft in the Niger Delta has translated to increased oil production.
He added: “As at the time we took off, the nation’s crude oil production was between 1.1m bpd and 1.2m bpd. We had less than 20 cargoes exported a month.
“Today, the crude oil production is about 1.7m bpd and the export of crude cargoes is over 26 or 27.
“So, Nigeria’s OPEC quota is 1.8m bpd and we are hitting 1.7m bpd. By next year, we want to go to over 2m bpd.
“For three weeks, we have been without incident of violence in the Niger Delta.
“As a nation, if you do not earn money, you are doomed. That is the direction we are going. We want to keep the nation safe for peace and economic development.
“We want this nation to survive; we want it to be back on the track of recovery and the path of development.”
On banditry and kidnapping, Ribadu said the government has decisively dealt with bandits in the Northwest and the Northcentral.
He said the government’s initiatives, including military engagement, have led to the release of over 600 people from captivity.
The NSA said: “When we raised the bar last week, almost 600 people were released especially in the Northwest. The organised kidnapping we had in the past has come down.
“Around this time last year, armed gangsters were making life difficult for Nigerians in the Northwest. People’s lives were turned upside down.
“For 10 years, there was no life in some communities. They could not go to farms, their children couldn’t go to schools. They had no access to hospitals. We have been able to reverse this trend.
“Now, you can drive at night from Kaduna to Abuja. Since the beginning of this year, there has not been a single incident. Yes, it is happening. This is just halfway of restoring peace to our country.”
Ribadu, who identified kidnapping as a challenge without borders, noted: “Last year, the United Kingdom had 400 cases, Mexico recorded 8,000 cases and Brazil about 8,000 cases. The cases that are closer to us are the ones we feel.
“We are not giving excuses; we are working hard to end banditry and kidnapping. We are working to give you the best you can imagine.”
Reviewing Boko Haram insurgency, Ribadu said: “Until recently in the last three weeks, there were less than four incidents.”
On the situation in the Southeast, the NSA said the government was steadily restoring peace to the region, adding: “We are working round the clock to make the Southeast safe. Last year, 46 police stations were attacked. Today, we don’t have a single one attacked.
“In the last two months, not a single person was killed because of the measures we have put in place. The challenge of keeping people away from work and daily economic activities is coming down.”
Ribadu, who responded to questions from editors, asked Nigerians to expect improvement in the management of public funds.
He said: “This government is one of the most transparent governments in the history of Nigeria. We will open up and be sincere.
“We intend to do things publicly. Mr. President is very accountable. We will open up; we will be sincere.
“I put an average of 18 hours into this work every day. I will never lie to you. I will say it as it is.”
On the presidential yacht whose N5b allocation was expunged from the 2023 Appropriation Bill by the National Assembly, Ribadu said: “This government has nothing to do with it; has nothing to do with buying yacht. It is part of some of the things we inherited.”
Senate summons Service chiefs, Customs CG, others over insecurity
The Senate yesterday invited Service chiefs, heads of other security agencies and the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) to explain efforts at combatting insecurity.
It said the appearance of the security chiefs before it in a closed-door session would give lawmakers an insight into the steps being taken.
The Senate lauded the security agencies for the ongoing efforts being made in fighting all forms of criminality.
It urged them (security agencies) to improve and enhance their inter-operational synergy and coordination for the effective and holistic tackling of the various types of insecurity plaguing the nation.
The Red Chamber further urged them to develop a National Security Policy document that would outline the framework for an improved and streamlined synergy and coordination among the various security agencies.
It sued for joint training by security forces to enhance their capabilities and effectiveness in dealing with all forms of security challenges bedevilling the nation.
The resolutions of the Senate followed its consideration and adoption of a motion titled: “The improvement of coordination and synergy between Nigerian security forces and agencies to help strengthen and win the fight against insecurity in the nation.”
The motion was sponsored by Senator Abdulaziz Yar’Adua at plenary.
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