Nigeria’s House of Representatives minority caucus has expressed worry over the increasing rate of oil theft under the watch of the All Progressive Congress party administration.
In a statement issued in Abuja at the weekend, the group of lawmakers led by Reps Minority Leader, Hon Ndudi Elumelu stated that it is also worried by reports of alleged complicity by certain corrupt government officials as seen in the clandestine entrance and berthing of a 3-million-barrel capacity supertanker, MV. Heroic Idun in Nigerian waters to criminally load millions of barrels of stolen crude oil from Nigeria and depart.
In the statement, the minority caucus said such reported complicity also shows the failure of the federal government of Nigerian to effectively intercept and nab the criminal tanker and its crew, which reportedly left the Nigerian waters, only to be apprehended in the Equatorial Guinea Navy.
According the Hon Elumelu and his group, oil thieves are having a field day in Nigeria, taking away up to 400,000 barrels of crude oil every day, amounting to about $40million, according federal government accrued revenue meant for the wellbeing of Nigerians.
“This shocking development underscores the massive sleaze in our nation’s oil and gas sector under the APC administration, with consequential crippling effect on our overall national economy and social wellbeing.
“Our caucus is saddened because such enabled sleaze is responsible for the crippling of our production and services sectors, massive unemployment; collapse of our critical sectors including education, health and power; unbearable infrastructural stagnation and escalated insecurity with attendant excruciating hardship on our citizens.
“The minority caucus, standing with Nigerians, demands for an immediate, independent and open investigation into the issue of oil theft in the country with particular refence to the circumstances that facilitated the reported illegal operation by MV Heroic Idun as well as its escape from our waters.
“Who granted the vessel entrance into the Nigerians water? Who granted it facilities to illegally berth and pump stolen crude oil? What circumstances facilitated its escape from the Nigerian waters? Who is the vessel working for and who are those behind the illegal operation?”
The group commended the Nigerian Navy for their collaboration with Equatorial Guinea Navy to effect the arrest of the criminal vessel and urged the Naval to resist any influence or pressure that will forbid them from prosecuting the crew and their sponsors.