July 21, 2024

FG investigative panel unravels major causes of oil theft in Nigeria, submits report, as NSA assures quick implementation

Oredola Adeola


The high-powered investigative committee set up by the Nigerian Government to unravel perpetrators behind the menace of frequent crude oil theft and vandalism has submitted its report to the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno.


This was contained in a statement released by Mr Zakari Usman, Head, Strategic Communication, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and seen by EnergyDay.


EnergyDay’s check showed that the National Security Council (NSC) had in September 2022, directed the office of the NSA in conjunction with the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) to set up a committee to investigate oil theft. The 11-man committee was inaugurated by the NSA in December 2022.

The statement from the ONSA revealed that the panel during its investigation engaged key stakeholders including state governments; ministries, departments, and agencies; security agencies; regulatory agencies; international and indigenous oil companies; traditional institutions; host communities; artisanal refiners; among others.

It said, “In discharging the responsibility of the panel, it received and reviewed several memoranda and reports on oil theft and losses.


“The panel discovered several layers of involvement in the illegal theft of crude oil despite the best efforts of the Armed Forces and other security agencies to combat the activities of the oil thieves.


“The panel also observed that crude oil losses arose from a lack of proper reporting of crude oil production; illegal refining; theft from wellheads; and diversion from sophisticated pipelines network. The panel also attributed losses to the absence of a robust industry-wide metering system, and an unworkable security arrangement.


“The confusing roles of regulatory agencies was also cited as being responsible for making the detection of theft/losses difficult,” the statement of ONSA noted.


Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu, the chairman of the investigative panel, in his remark after the submission of the report, disclosed that the comprehensive report has the capacity to address frequent cases of oil theft and losses, if the government showed commitment to immediate implementation of the recommendations.


He said, “Prompt implementation of the committee’s submissions would not only create an immediate impact on crude oil production levels to meet OPEC’s quota but would also attract foreign direct investment and serve Nigeria’s economic and national security concerns.


Maj.-Gen. Monguno, in his comment, commended the committee members for working within the timeframe of the task. He, therefore, assured that the Nigerian Government would study the report and ensure its immediate implementation.


He emphasised that crude oil theft in Nigeria is the biggest threat to Nigeria’s economy..