Arrest Oil Theft and Pipeline Vandalization Now, ANEEJ Tasks Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari

Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has called on the Muhammadu Buhari administration to constitute a crack team to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of crude oil theft and pipeline vandals so as to plug the culture of waste and impunity in the country.

ANEEJ Executive Director, Rev David Ugolor who made the call on the Buhari administration was reacting to shocking revelations made by Edo State governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and chairman of the Ad-hoc committee of the National Economic Council on Crude oil theft, that Nigeria losses over 20million barrels of crude oil production to oil theft in the past six months.

‘Loss of 20 million barrels of oil daily or annually translates to $6.4billion, an amount the size of the annual budgets of most African countries. Nigeria cannot afford to continue to lose such incredible sums especially at a time when our economy is not out of the woods of recession yet. What was even more troubling in the Obaseki revelation was that in the June 2019 Monthly Financial and Operations Report recently released by the NNPC, there is a 77% increase in the cases of oil pipeline vandalism across its network of pipeline infrastructure’, Rev Ugolor said in a statement to journalists.

NEITI 2016 Oil and Gas Industry Audit Report released last year showed that the plunge in revenue in 2016 resulted from the double whammy of low oil prices in the global market and reduced oil production in Nigeria, which in turn was caused by disruption and vandalism of oil assets and a spike in crude theft, among others

In 2013 a report attributed to the Berne Declaration, aka Public Eye (Swiss traders’ opaque deals in Nigeria), and which indicted Swiss firms like Vitol  and Trafigura, indicated that there were concomitant  losses involving those from byproducts from oil like diesel, kero and others.  Recall as well that recently Nigeria was reported to have lost close to $10billion in a court case even though unrelated to oil theft. The implication that this has is that Nigeria must begin to put square pegs in square holes to save the nation loss of so much revenue.

‘In 2015, ANEEJ took up the gauntlet in favour of scrapping the obnoxious oil swap programme and replacing it with a regimen favourable to Nigeria. We therefore welcome the move by the authorities to involve stakeholders across board to check crude oil theft in Nigeria. We add our voice to the call on those involved in these acts that sabotage our economy to desist forthwith’, Ugolor said.

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