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Senate moves against $1.5bn crude oil theft

The Senate Committee on Downstream Petroleum has called on the Federal Government to device a means of prosecuting persons caught stealing  petroleum products from vandalised  pipelines in order to stem the tide of  crude oil theft, estimated at $1.5billion annually.

The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Abubakar Umar Gada, who frowned at the manner in which some Nigerians  conspire  with foreigners to burst petroleum pipelines belonging to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)  to steal products,  told Sunday Vanguard  that anyone found culpable in oil theft must be  brought to book. This, he said, was the only way to curb oil thieves.

According to him, “ Nigeria derives greater percentage of its revenue from oil to run other sectors of the economy. As such, oil theft constitutes a major linkage from the income flow of  government”.

On  whether the National Assembly has made any law to give  government  legislative backing to sanction  foreigners who  conspire with Nigerians to rupture the pipelines and siphon products, he said, “Right now, the Senate does not have such law but in the near future will do something practically about it.  Beyond that, oil theft is a criminal offence and anyone found guilty must be made to face the wrath of the law.  Losing about $1.5 billion yearly to crude oil theft is not good for our economy. Something must be done urgently to address the situation.”

On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)  that has been at the National Assembly since 2008, even after it was endorsed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said, “the Bill has passed the first and second readings, but the problem is that new ideas keep coming every day, that is why  the Bill is still in the Senate.


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