…Calls for judicial inquiry
An eldertstaman, Chief Edwin Clark has pointed accusing fingers to security chiefs and top government officials on the reported oil theft.
Clark argued that there is no way a such magnitude of stealing will go on without the involvement of security top echelon and government officials.
He therefore called on the Federal Government to set up a judicial inquiry to do a full and comprehensive investigation on the allegation of oil theft in the country.
He stressed that the stealing which has been on going over 50 years are carried out by strong cartel in government.
The call is coming amidst the recent exposure of a 4 kilometre pipeline from Forcados terminal to the sea.
Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited, had said the nine-year illegal 4 kilometre (km) pipeline had been in operation undetected for nine years.
Forcados is operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigerian subsidiary of Shell Plc.
Clark in his call titled ” A call for judicial inquiry into the criminal act of oil theft now sabotaging our national economy”, said top government cabals were behind the crude oil theft.
He also called for the establishment of modular refineries to tackle bunkery.
Clark who spoke in Abuja also said that despite the fact that he is not in support of illegality, he however said that the youth from the region was left with no other options than seek means of survival in the face of deprivation and neglect.
He stressed that the issue of crude oil theft is entrenched as it has been on for over 50 years.
He said, “About two hundred barrels of crude oil are being stolen from there every day, and that this has been going on since 2014.”
The 200 barrels per day, according to him, is part of the 470 thousand barrels of crude oil that is being lost every month, amounting to $700 million.
He said, “Although the NNPCL thinks these have been going on in the past 20 years, Clark however said, “some of us have always insisted that this oil theft has been going on for much longer, for about 50 years.”
He therefore said, ” I want to advise the Federal Government to institute a judicial inquiry to investigate this criminal act of oil theft.”
He supported his claim by citing an investigation conducted in the past under the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration where some personnel of the Nigerian Navy were indicted.
He therefore commended Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) for exposing the about 4km pipeline.
He said, “I also want to use this medium to commend Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), and his company, Tantita Securities Limited, for this huge discovery and exposure of such a criminal act against the state. It definitely has proved that the award of the surveillance contract to him was not misplaced.”
He also added that past investigation had shown the involvement of military top brass and other government officials in the act.
On curbing bunkering, he said the youth from the region should be employed while at the same time the government should set up modular refineries.
He said, “And also, I want to once again, appeal that jobs should be provided for the teeming unemployed youths; modular refineries should be built to replace the illegal refineries being currently operated, and which do not only affect the economy of the country, but is also devastating the Niger Delta environment. “The international oil companies (IOCs) should be directed, once again, this time with sincerity of purpose, to relocate their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta region, if there is a genuine desire to end this menace.”
He further stressed, “The youths of the Niger Delta had to look for a means of survival. This is not, however, to support their activities.”
“I am therefore using this opportunity, to again, appeal to my fellow Nigerians who have taken over the ownership and management of the oil industries in the Niger Delta, the NNPCL in particular, to employ our youths into the various department of the oil industries, and not to make them beggars in their own home. The unity of Nigeria can only be kept if the citizens are all equal, and everybody has the opportunity to climb to the highest office in his/her country,” he added.