As part of the celebration of Nigeria’s 62nd independence, some security experts gathered on Saturday to chat path to how the issue of crude oil theft can be tackled in the country.
These experts have said that Nigeria’s crude oil theft would become a thing of the past when the government stamp out official complicity and bunkering, ensuring transparency and accountability.
These industry players, who shared their views on a special programme to celebrate Nigeria’s 62nd Anniversary Day tagged ‘Channels Forum’ on channels TV includes the former Director, Army Peace Keeping, Maj-Gen Anthony Atolagbe; Security Management and Intelligence Expert, Kabiru Adamu and Security Risk Consultant, Tanwa Ashiru.
According to Atolagbe, the Federal Government should visit a report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(NEITI), which outlined some steps to end the economic and environmental menace of crude oil theft.
He said there is a NEITI report sometimes before this government came in which spelt out how to end crude oil theft, perhaps if something can be done if they can lay hands on this kind of document.
“If we can key into some of these areas, we may not be able to stop everything in an absolute manner but perhaps to some reasonable extent we will get some good results on the steps that have been taken,” he added.
Describing the issue of crude oil theft as a socio-political problem caused by factors including price variation, Atolagbe gave a breakdown of what the country loses to this menace.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has reported that about 108,000 barrels per day (bpd} of crude are reportedly stolen daily in Nigeria, and so far the nation lost an estimate of N 2.3 million barrels (mb) in July 2022 alone and 28mb in total from January to July this year, which sums up to a total loss of $1 billion to crude theft in the first quarter of 2022.
On his part, Adamu opined that security agencies tasked with the onus of protecting Nigeria’s maritime border must be held responsible for the grand larceny of Nigeria’s resources.
“We need to hold the security department in that region that has the responsibility accountable,” he said referring to the southern part of Nigeria where crude oil theft has become ubiquitous in the creeks dotting the region, especially in the oil-rich Niger-Delta area in the South-South geopolitical zone.
“It is unfathomable for me to wake up and see that we have given that responsibility to a private individual,” Adamu added.
Therefore condemning a pipeline protection contract award by the Federal Government to a company that a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, has an interest in.
Adamu continued saying, “This matter is of such significance to our national existence, to our economy and yet we are allowing it to continue. Frankly, it is ridiculous, the quantity we are discussing are not quantities you put in a drum or even in a tanker; we are talking of quantities that are moved at such levels that it is embarrassing for me as a Nigerian to discuss with the international community.”
Giving her submission, Ashiru narrated how illegal miners in a part of Nigeria paid state actors N500,000 each as a protection fee to protect them whilst they engage in the criminal act.
Until we check official complicity, we are going to have issues with our resources, she submitted.
“I can take this exact scenario and plug in the niger delta, in the areas that have illegal bunkering. if you are flying a helicopter, with aerial access, there is no way you can miss where this illegal bunkering is taking place,” she noted
This article was originally published on Naija News