Barely one month after the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Olisa Agbakoba raised alarm that Nigeria was losing enormous resources to crude oil thieves, SHELL Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Limited, subsidiary of Shell Companies in Nigeria has also disclosed that Nigeria loses about $1.5 billion yearly to crude oil theft.Agbakoba had told participants at a recent awards and annual lecture of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS) that crude oil thieves who have taken over the Niger Delta axis are responsible for the monumental losses.
But last week in Abuja the , the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr Mutiu Sunmonu also acknowledged that the nation was losing that whooping sum to oil theft.
Similarly, the , Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation agreed that the oil theft syndicate is a big threat to operations at the nation’s export terminals, even as the SPDC bos stressed that “even with low oil prices, the (Nigerian) government loses between $1 billion and $1.5 billion every year to crude theft,” “Crude theft is a crime, we should not give excuse to people stealing crude in the name of resource control or agitations,” he said.
Thieves masquerading under the guise of agitating for improved living conditions for communities in the oil-rich Niger-Delta, drill holes into oil manifolds and pipelines that crisscross the region, to siphon crude which is then loaded into barges transferred into ocean tankers on the high seas.
Sunmonu said that the act has reached a point where the lives of oil workers as well as the people in the Niger-Delta, are in danger.He said the Nigerian government must begin to enforce law and order in the troubled region, as this would also ensure a conducive atmosphere to fast track development in the region.