The National Economic Council (NEC) Thursday put the amount of crude oil stolen from Nigeria in the first six months of 2019 at 22 million barrels.
A statement from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday said Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who is the Chairman of the ad-hoc committee of the NEC on crude oil theft, prevention and control, gave the figure at a meeting of stakeholders in Abuja.
The statement, signed by NNPC Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, quoted Obaseki as calling on stakeholders to join forces and work towards eradicating crude oil theft.
The governor expressed concerns that oil theft is currently on the upward swing in the country.
Obaseki, who painted a dire picture of the oil theft menace, said if nothing was done to curtail the ugly trend, the figure could double by the end of the year.
According to him, oil theft and pipeline vandalism are beginning to pose a threat to the national economy.
The NNPC stated that the meeting had in attendance, its Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, and representatives of the governors of Delta, Bayelsa, Ondo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.
Also, in attendance according to the corporation, were representatives of the Nigerian Police, Navy, Army, Civil Defence and the international oil companies (IOCs) as well as some indigenous operators.
NNPC equally said it was excited that oil theft and its twin-evil of pipeline vandalism were receiving attention at the highest level of governance in the country.
It added that in its June 2019 NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR) released recently, it recorded a staggering 77 per cent rise in cases of oil pipeline vandalism across its network of pipeline infrastructure.
According to the report, 106 pipeline points were breached, representing an alarming increase from the 60 points vandalised in May 2019.