Nigeria loses $4m daily to oil theft, says NSA

Ahigh-powered team dispatched by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to assess crude oil theft in the Niger Delta has uncovered illegal connections where Nigeria loses the product worth million of dollars monthly in Abia State.

The site in Owaza had many illegal connections to a major crude pipeline, a video of the finding made available to The Nation yesterday showed.

The team also carried out an aerial assessment of nine other Niger Delta oil-producing communities –   Bille, Azuzuama, Ahoada, Rumuekepe Ebocha, Abacheke, Egbema, Ohaji, and Koko communities of Abia, Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo and Delta states.

Defence Minister Muhammed Badaru  told reporters after a closed-door meeting with  Rivers State Governor  Similaye Fubara in Port Harcourt that the discovery was made on Saturday.

Service chiefs, Ministers of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil),  Heineken Lokpobiri; and  Gas,  Ekperipe Ekpo;  National Security Adviser   Nuhu Ribadu, and the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited(NPCL) Mele Kyari are members of the delegation.

Also in the team are Commander of “Operation Delta Safe’’  Olusegun Ferreira, operatives of security agencies and chief executive officers of regulatory agencies in the oil and gas sector.

The delegation noted that clandestine refineries, illegal bunkering operations and environmental devastation collectively translated into severe economic losses for the nation.

“We are ready to do whatever it takes for a peaceful Niger Delta, give peace a chance, cease and desist crude from oil theft and economic sabotage,” Badaru said.

Ribadu, who led the team, said that  Nigeria still loses  400,000 barrels of crude oil daily in spite of efforts to curb the trend.

He said: “It’s unfortunate that few individuals would steal our common resources, and in the process, cause unbelievable loss to both the nation, communities and the people.

“The value of 400,000 barrels of oil today is about $4 million and every day, we lose this amount because of this irresponsible behaviour.

“If you multiply $4 million dollars by 365 days (one year), you will see that it is a lot of money running into billions of dollars.

“Currently, the country is in desperate need of money as the Naira is continuously losing its value because we earn less money.

“If we earn more money, it will not only help strengthen our currency but reflect in everything, including the cost of living in the country.”

The NSA called for collaborative efforts by security agencies and host communities to end illegal oil activities in the Niger Delta.

He warned oil thieves and their co-conspirators that  “enough is enough.”

“The environment is being destroyed, livelihoods are being destroyed and the Federation is deprived of revenue capable of shoring up the economy and strengthening the naira,” Ribadu said.

Ribadu’s predecessor, Maj.- Gen. Babagana Monguno, had in December, lamented that the Federal Government might lose $23 billion this year if crude oil theft was not tackled.


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