Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, has urged the Special Committee on crude oil theft, to pay attention to all dimensions of theft of the product and strive to deliver on its mandate.
Inaugurating the committee on Wednesday, the Speaker said “we set up this Special Committee to underscore our unwavering commitment to protect the nation’s resources for the good of all our citizens and to punish the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes.
“I charge you, therefore, to investigate all dimensions of oil theft, focusing on the actions of all actors, including criminal gangs, militia groups, the local populace, company employees and security agencies.
“I urge the members of this committee to approach your mandate with diligence, objectivity, a sense of urgency and patriotism. The findings and recommendations from your work will serve as a foundation for sustainable solutions rather than ad-hoc measures.
“I also expect your efforts to contribute significantly to enhancing the integrity of our oil sector and promoting sustainable development”, as he called on all stakeholders, including government agencies, industry players, security agencies, civil society organizations, and the general public, to extend their full cooperation to the panel
“By effectively addressing this challenge, we can enhance revenue, investment and overall socio-economic progress for Nigeria”, he said.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the committee, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, described the issue of crude oil theft to be “of significance national importance”, adding that the House of Representatives had taken an important and bold step to check and tame the tide of this unfortunate development.
He said available record from the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report 2021 indicated that the Oil and Gas sector accounted for 72.26% of Nigeria’s total export and government foreign exchange, 40.55% of government revenue and provided 19,171 jobs.
“Oil theft is large scale illegal business estimated to be worth $133 billion per year globally. This makes it the world’s biggest theft of a natural resource and is also considered to be the number one most smuggled natural resource globally. From the 2021 NEITI, It is estimated that between 2019 – 2021 Nigeria lost 643 million barrels of crude amounting to $48 billion as a result of theft.
“A recent report by a presidential investigative panel affirms the apparent micro-economic impact of crude oil theft. The report states that with oil theft and illegal bunkering taking as much as 200,000 to 400,000 barrels per day of the country’s oil production at the onset of these illegalities to now more than 800,000 barrels per day, the country’s fiscal stability is therefore threatened. The report further painted a frightening scenario where losses to oil thieves and official leakages could overtake official receipts of all oil revenues into the Nigerian treasury”, he stated.