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‘Nigeria needs multifaceted approach to tackle oil theft

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The Federal Government has been urged to adopt multifaceted approaches towards halting cases of crude oil theft, which has caused the country about N15.83 trillion economic losses from 2015 to 2018.

According to experts who spoke at a dissemination workshop on advocacy against crude oil theft in Nigeria, the solution to the crisis needs to cut across the entire value chain because of the multiple players involved.

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The Senior Programme Manager, New Nigeria Foundation (NNF), Chikodi Chiedo who spoke in Lagos explained that the nation loses an estimated N995 billion yearly to the menace, thus making Nigeria, to ranked the worst worldwide in terms of oil theft.She noted that in the last four years, the country lost approximately 43 percent of recorded revenue, which amounts to 17 percent of the country’s budget for same period. The amount lost, she observed, could have paid 28.7 percent of Nigeria’s budget deficit in that period.

According to her, crude oil theft has become a national issue that requires collective action from the civil society, oil companies, the citizens, and government stressing that adoption of modern technology for surveillance and protection of Pipelines as used by some countries for monitoring and protecting pipeline should be considered by the Federal and State Governments.

NNF further called for proper disposal of confiscated petroleum products as the approach by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps further aggravate degradation already caused during the processing of crude oil by artisanal refiners.

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“There may be a need to conduct research and technical evaluation of the composite from artisanal refineries in order to determine what needs to be done to convert the products. The development of modular refineries and other technologies could help in meeting demands, eliminating illegal processing of crude oil and the attendant environmental impact”, she added.

Chiedo declared that government should develop the agricultural and manufacturing sectors to absorb the unemployed, provide more social amenities such as electricity, schools, water and roads as well as arrest and prosecute crude oil thieves, their sponsors and collaborators.

On the other hand, citizens especially the youths need to be sensitised to put collective interest above personal gains and crime, participate in governance and hold the government accountable.

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“Citizens should advocate to government to support local refiners and establish modular refineries to meet local needs. The Civil Society should make pipeline surveillance contractors accountable for oil theft, advocate transparency and open data from NNPC and inform citizens about the bad effects of crude oil theft on their communities and environment.

“Oil companies should improve internal security and secure pipelines, invest more funds in community development and implement local content policy that ensure that the host communities benefit from contracts and jobs”, she added.

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