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Factual Reportage

…Calls for Establishment of Special Court, Accelerated Hearing

In order for the oil and gas industry to achieve its full potential as an enabler of national economic and industrial growth, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari, has called for the support of the judiciary in tackling the twin challenges of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Kyari made the call at the National Judges Capacity Building Workshop on the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and INVESTIN 234, on Thursday in Abuja.

In a statement by NNPCL Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Olufemi O. Soneye, the GCEO, in a goodwill message he delivered at the workshop, stated that the gains of the PIA have been severely undermined by crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Kyari urged the judiciary to consider the creation of a special court to try offences related to crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism or granting accelerated hearings to such cases.

According to him, the role of the judiciary was critical to the success of the efforts of the various security arrangements put in place by NNPC, the law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in the industry.

“In particular, is the recommendation that a special court be created to try those offences as they hinge on our survival as a country and/or for such trials to be conducted under an accelerated hearing process by the issuance of Practice Directions to that effect, with concomitant sanctions to deter would-be offenders,” Kyari stated.

The GCEO also called on the judiciary to accelerate hearings on criminal cases in their courts, through timely determination of the criminal charges and imposing adequate punishments and sanctions on culprits to serve as deterrence to others.

He said that NNPC remains committed to collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the PIA, adding that “together, we can ensure that the benefits of our natural resources are maximised for the economic and social development of our country”.

Kyari also commended the Chief Justice of the Federation, Olukayode Ariwoola and the organisers of the workshop for extending the invitation to him and the opportunity to deliver a goodwill message at the workshop.

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