07 August 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The United States of America believes that Nigerian terror group Boko Haram may be funded with money originating from crude oil thefts.
US congressman Issa Darrel revealed this during a meeting in Abuja with the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, which advocates for the release of some 219 Nigerian girls kidnapped by the terrorists in the restive Borno state last April.
This has prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to launch an investigation with the help of the international community.
The US government recently pledged more support to Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and corruption. The country also announced it is considering lifting a ban on arms sales to Nigeria after Buhari warned the restriction helps Boko Haram’s insurgency.
Darrel Issa, during an earlier meeting with the President promised the United States’ help to fight crude oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea.
Issa, a former chair of the House Oversight Committee in the US House of Representatives, assured President Buhari that the United States will support Nigeria against Boko Haram by providing training, intelligence and military platforms.
“We look forward to helping you in many ways to end the Boko Haram insurgency and the theft of crude oil in the Gulf of Guinea,’’ he said.
A few days after a meeting between Buhari and US President Barack Obama, in a bid to reinforce relations that had deteriorated during Nigeria’s previous administration, the US provided Nigeria with a list of names of alleged oil thieves.
As part of an anti-corruption campaign Buhari undertook after gaining office in May, he banned 113 vessels from lifting crude oil from some 27 Nigerian ports amid suspicions the vessels had been implicated in illicit activities. He also replaced the whole board of state-run oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) .
Speaking during an audience with the congressmen and women, President Buhari disclosed that his administration has taken efforts to recover looted Nigerian funds a step further to include the identification of banks, financial institutions and countries in which payments for stolen Nigerian crude oil were deposited.
The President stressed the determination of his administration to root out corruption in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
He acknowledged the support and cooperation given his administration by the international community in gathering all required intelligence for tracing and recovering stolen national resources.
“We are getting cooperation from the international community, including information on ships that take crude oil from Nigeria and change direction, or pour their contents into other ships mid-stream.
“Some monies were paid to individual accounts. We are identifying the financial institutions and countries that are involved.
“I have been assured that when we get all our documents together, the United States and other countries will treat our case with sympathy,’’ the President told the visiting Congressmen and women.