By Onome Amuge
Nigeria could be losing as much as $200 million to bunkering activities in the oil and gas sector, the Association of Tank Farm of Oil and Gas Marketers of Nigeria (ATOGMAN) has said, raising concerns over the illegal activities of bunkers and unlatched trucks.
Lawrence Kanu, chairman, and member board of trustees of the association, disclosed this after the inauguration of the executive committee of the association in Abuja, Nigeria.
Speaking on the best measures to effectively tackle the menace, Kanu called on the government to institutionalise state and community policing to provide security in communities where pipelines pass through to protect the pipelines against oil bunkering activities.
“The only way pipelines can have effective protection is when there is community policing. When the community is in partnership with the government forces, it will go a long way in protecting the pipeline,” he said.
The ATOGMAN chairman also suggested that the nation’s major highways plied by tanker drivers be put in good shape to reduce incidence of trucks falling while ferrying petroleum products.
Commenting on the moribund state of the country’s oil refineries, Kanu noted that failure to get them into operational standards over the years has resulted in the importation of about 99 percent of petroleum consumed in the country.
He noted that this has resulted in importation charges, high rate of unemployment and infrastructure decay in the oil industry as indigenous operators in the oil refinery value chain have been left redundant.
Kanu enjoined the government to implement more effective procedures towards rehabilitating the refineries as it would help the country to generate more revenue and also curb the losses incurred in the oil industry.
“We have refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri. Imagine the capacity of people who are going to be employed directly, the contractors who are going to have jobs and which would lead to more economic development of the country?” He said.