Stakeholders seek stiffer penalties for crude oil thieves

Stakeholders at a one-day meeting to discuss crude oil/products stealing in the country have lamented the economic impact, hence have made a call for stiffer penalties for culprits.

The One-Day Stakeholders Conference on Oil Theft/Losses in Abuja, on Tuesday, was organised by Chairman of the Panel and Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme PAP Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu.

Speaking as a Special Guest, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo stressed that so grievous a crime cannot simply be a subject of summitry;  but that“people must do their jobs and if they are unable to do them, then there must be an accounting for such failures. Institutional and personal reputations are at stake.”

He expressed concern that “oil theft and sabotage of oil and gas assets are a clear and present danger to our economy and national security. 

Not only do they pose a serious threat to oil exploration and our energy economy, but they also impact negatively on revenue accruals to the Federation and the business prospects of investors in the oil sector”.

Noting that the Federal Government prioritised the development of the Niger-Delta, as well as the protection of oil assets, the Vice-President emphasised that the theft of crude oil and the accompanying attacks on our energy infrastructure, especially in the Niger-Delta, have since the inception of the present administration, been of utmost concern.

Against the backdrop of huge production cuts and revenue losses, Osinbajo highlighted the work done by the National Economic Council, which he chairs. According to him, the Council set up an Ad-hoc Committee to ascertain the magnitude of oil theft and losses in Nigeria and recommended appropriate remedial measures. 

He also noted that President Buhari had enacted the Petroleum Industry Act of 2021 aimed at revitalizing the oil and gas industry through which the people of the region can maximally benefit from the wealth of their land.

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