The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.), has inaugurated an 11-man Special Investigative Panel to investigate cases of oil theft and oil losses in the country.
The panel is chaired by the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Major General Barry Ndiomu, with Mr. David Attah as Secretary.
Speaking during the inauguration in Abuja on Tuesday, Monguno said Nigeria was currently facing a monumental loss of revenue that ought to have accrued from the sale of crude oil, the main source of its foreign exchange earnings.
He said the alarming rate of vandalism and theft of crude oil had led to a significant decline in production, which has impacted the nation’s revenue.
He added that the country’s current crude production struggles to meet even one million barrels per day, adding that recent interventions by the security agencies had revealed massive illicit platforms for stealing.
He said, “The extent of the oil and revenue losses threatens the economy, constraining the administration to revert to less popular monetary and fiscal policies to address revenue-side constraints with dire implications.”
“Government has been briefed on the dwindling economic fortunes including, the inability to replenish foreign reserves and reduction in revenue thereby, affecting accruals into the Federation Account.
“With the scale of the theft and losses and the alleged complicity of regulatory agencies and officials, as well as security personnel, as well as the involvement of international collaborators, the enterprise is deeply entrenched and would be extremely difficult to exterminate without very stern and decisive action by the government.”
“The menace of oil theft and losses is completely unacceptable, considering its attendant impact on the economy, national development, and security.”
“It is an affront to the government and its institutions, which must be tackled without further delay.”
“It is in this connection that the government, worried by the ugly trend, among other things, directed the setting up of a Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft/Losses in Nigeria to investigate all aspects of crude oil theft, identify the culprits, and submit its report for necessary action.”