28 September 2015, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in New York said China has intercepted shiploads of crude oil stolen from Nigeria.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the intercepted shiploads of crude oil were to be sold and proceeds paid into private accounts.
Buhari spoke at a meeting with President Xi Jinping of China on the sidelines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly.
Buhari also used the occasion to restate his determination to fully sanitise Nigeria’s oil industry and make it totally free of corruption and shady deals.
Buhari said that a necessary first step in this direction had already been taken with the appointment of a new management for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsequent reorganisation.
The president further restated that the prosecution of those who misappropriated NNPC’s revenue under past administrations would soon commence.
Buhari also thanked the Chinese president for helping in curbing crude oil theft from Nigeria.
He said: “We know your stand on corruption, and we are grateful. Your continued cooperation in curbing oil theft from Nigeria will be appreciated.”
He also assured Xi that under its new leadership, the Nigerian military had been retrained and reequipped, and was now making steady gains against Boko Haram.
Responding, Xi told Buhari that China, which was already involved in Nigeria in diverse areas like the railways, airports, agriculture, and in the Mambilla hydro-power project, among others, would increase its investment in the country’s agricultural sector in order for Nigeria to achieve food security.
He also promised further Chinese investment in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, and more support for human capital development in the country.
On a similar note, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Gu Kiaojie has said his country’s crude oil importation from Nigeria has been steady in the last five years.
Gu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that contrary to insinuations, “China’s oil import from Nigeria remains steady”.
“For the past four to five years, China has never reduced the volume of crude oil importation from Nigeria, the volume remains stable,” he said.
The Chinese envoy blamed the fall in oil prices on a weak global economy and the market forces of demand and supply, though he admitted that China was not a major crude oil importer of Nigeria’s oil.
“China steadily purchases between two and three per cent of total Nigerian crude oil exports,” he said.
He advised Nigerians to redouble their efforts at looking inwards and see what they could produce locally rather than relying on importation.
Aside crude oil, Gu also said China imports iron ore and soya beans from Nigeria on a regular basis.