Nigeria’s financial crime agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit have been mobilized to track funds linked to illegal oil businesses.

The group managing director if the national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari, who led a delegation of the company management to the House of Representatives yesterday, said this has become necessary upon the discovery that oil theft in Nigeria is high profile, involving equally high caliber financial transactions.

He blamed the recent spike in the pump price of petroleum products including the automotive gas oil on the invasion of the market by illegal refiners.

“As you may be aware that the diesel that you see, until very recently in the last three weeks when we clamped down on some of these illegal refineries, is actually coming from these illegal refineries.

“A lot of us here, I am sure, have generators in our homes – many of us, if not all; I can tell you that until the last three weeks, most of the diesel that you used in your homes was coming from these refineries.

That is why when we took them out, when we cut off their lines of supply by stopping the trucks from moving, by security agencies razing down trucks when they arrest them with illegal AGO, that was when you heard that AGO got to N900 per litre. That was not the market price for AGO.

“Obviously, once the supply becomes constrained, prices will go up. We are happy that the NNPC’s intervention has brought down the prices to the normal market level and we will continue to do so, so that people have alternatives to this illegal fuel.

“People buy it is because it is cheaper; what was being sold in the market was not the market price of AGO that many of us were paying for,” Kyari.

According to him, the House should consider the special court as top priority so that the menace of oil theft can be addressed squarely this time.

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