…Nigeria loses $80bn annually to oil infrastructure vandalism – Kachikwu
11 February 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday regretted that oil has become a curse or burden to communities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
He said this was despite the fact that over 50% of the nation’s non-oil revenues was determined by oil.
Osinbajo said this at a town hall meeting he had with stakeholders in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in continuation of the Federal Government’s consultation with oil-producing communities in the country.
A copy of his speech was made available to journalists in Abuja by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.
Osinbajo recalled that it was in Oloibiri in the state that the history of oil exploration in Nigeria began and source of the nation’s wealth was discovered.
He noted that oil became the source of 70% of our national earnings and 90% of our foreign exchange earnings.
He said, “Over 50% of non-oil revenues is determined by oil revenues. But for the people of historic Oloibiri and the many oil-producing communities in this state and the Delta region of Nigeria, the blessing of oil paradoxically became a curse or at best a burden.
“Their means of livelihood, fishing and farming have consistently been destroyed by pollution.
“Worse still, huge resources earned over the years have simply disappeared.
“The roads, schools, hospitals and social amenities that the oil wealth should have provided are either not there or are patently inadequate.
“The majority of people of these communities and several parts of the oil-producing states have heard of the wealth that oil has brought but have hardly benefited from it.”
Osinbajo said he was in the state on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari to propose a new vision and to signpost a new era to the people of the oil-producing communities.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said Nigeria is losing at least $80bn annually to vandalism of oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
Kachikwu made this known on Friday in Yenagoa at the resumed dialogue with Niger Delta stakeholders as part of the visit of Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to Bayelsa.
He said that no fewer than 10,000 sabotage incidents were recorded annually at oilfields across the region.
He regretted that within the last decade, estimated $30bn revenue accrued to the Niger Delta area by way of derivation, but that the region had continued to wallow in abject poverty.
Kachikwu urged people of the area to contribute ideas toward the resolution of crises in the zone “and add value as well as derive some gain from the natural endowments of the region’’.
He said that the challenges of the region could be turned into opportunities when peace was achieved and called on Niger Delta people to give peace a chance for the growth of the region.
Kachikwu, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Usani Uguru Usani, and Minister of State for Agriculture, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, accompanied Osinbajo on the trip.