12 December 2013, Abuja – Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal says the level of oil theft in the country is beyond the capacity of common criminals otherwise referred to as “Area Boys.” He said the oil theft and pipeline vandalism involved the connivance of highly-place officials.
Tambuwal spoke while inaugurating a 16-member ad hoc committee, set up to investigate the level of crude oil theft in the country.
He said the House would “ensure that the criminal groups involved in oil theft and the so-called ‘investors’ or ‘godfathers’ who are backing them are correctly identified and exposed.
“No country can endure such blatant rape of its resources by a few criminals who seem to grow bolder by the day. And no self respecting parliament can watch this kind of gross sabotage and not intervene.
“So long as we allow these oil bunkerers to remain in business, so long will our people go without the basic needs of life. Since oil is our main source of wealth as a nation, we must do everything possible to defend the integrity of the process of oil production and sale in the international market,” said the Speaker.
“We must realise that without the protection of highly placed people, without the connivance of officials and experts in the sector, the activity of illegal bunkering would have been curtailed long ago,” he said.
He said “the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, for instance, should be made to take a closer look at those behind the transportation and purchase of stolen oil – and act in conjunction with other international law enforcement agencies for criminal prosecution under the procedure of Mutual Legal Assistance.”