01 August 2018, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Nigeria Natural Resource Charter, NNRC, yesterday, lamented the rising incidences in crude oil theft in Nigeria, stating that crude oil valued at N995 billion was stolen in the country in 2017.
Presenting highlights of the report at a capacity building workshop for journalists in Abuja, Senior Consultant, Africa Practice, Dawn Dimowo, attributed the large-scale crude oil theft to poverty, unemployment, poor governance and pervasive corruption, as well as the neglect of the Niger Delta region which bore the disproportionate brunt of the negative impact of oil exploration.
She further noted that Nigeria’s policies, legal and institutional frameworks had remained incapable of addressing the revenue losses and attendant environmental damage holistically and sustainably.
She said the NNRC report described the solutions implemented by the government to curb oil theft as unsustainable and inadequately implemented.
She also called for the implementation of alternative strategies which are robust, long-term and backed with political will.
The NNRC Report titled, ‘Oil Theft in Nigeria,’ disclosed that the estimated value of total losses suffered by Nigeria through the various methods by which oil is stolen from the Niger Delta was higher than the combined allocations for health and education captured in the 2018 budget.
According to the report, the combined allocations for health and education amounted to N189.4 billion, which translated to a mere 8.4 percent of the estimated value of losses from oil theft two years ago.
The report said, “Over the last decade, oil theft has risen to unprecedented levels, peaking between 2011 and 2014. The inability of the government and oil companies to curb this epidemic has made Nigeria the country most plagued by oil theft in the world.
“Complicity between state actors, oil companies and militant elements in incidents of oil theft is well documented after several investigations.”
Also speaking, a consultant to the NNRC, Mrs. Ramatu Bako, stated that oil theft had brought about a number of social evils.
According to her, apart from environmental degradation, it had brought about low enrolment in schools, as youths now find it more attractive to steal crude oil than attend schools.
On his part, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, convener of the programme and former spokesperson to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance, disclosed that it was estimated that Nigeria loses revenue in the range of $7 billion to $12 billion annually to oil theft, peaking at $15.9 billion in 2014 and N3.8 trillion in 2016.
According to him, the amount lost to crude oil theft in 2016 was more than the N4 trillion revenue target attained by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, in 2017.