Nigeria seeks stiffer measures on oil theft

Ben Adam Shemang, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London

The International Community has been called upon to treat stolen crude oil from Nigeria like the way they will treat trade on illegal diamond globally.

The call was made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.

“I call on the international community to designate oil theft as an international crime similar to the trade in “blood diamonds”. In addition to the looting of public funds, Nigeria is also confronted with illegal activities in the oil sector, the mainstay of our export economy. That this industry has been enmeshed in corruption with the participation of the staff of some of the oil companies is well established. Their participation enabled oil theft to take place on a massive scale,” President Buhari said.

He said that Nigerian crude oil was being stolen on an industrial scale and exported, with the proceeds laundered through world financial centres by transnational organised criminals.

President Buhari lamented that, “Oil theft is one of the species of organised crimes that is almost totally off the international community’s radar, as Nigeria’s trade and diplomatic partners have taken no real action, Nigeria could not stop the trade single-handedly and there is limited value in countries going it alone.”

Criminal enterprise
The menace of oil theft, put at over 150,000 barrels per day, according to the Nigerian leader, is a criminal enterprise involving internal and external perpetrators.

Illicit oil cargoes and their proceeds move across international borders.

Persistently, the President Buhari made passionate appeal to the international community, to assist Nigeria.

“We, therefore, call on the international community again to designate oil theft as an international crime similar to the trade in “blood diamonds”, as it constitutes an imminent and credible threat to the economy and stability of oil-producing countries like Nigeria. The critical stakeholders here present can lead the charge in this regard,” President buhari appealed.

 

Sammie