Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to urgently constitute a judicial panel to investigate the role of the Nigerian military and officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the massive oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
Former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, who is the convener of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) gave the advice on Tuesday at a press conference in Abuja.
The elder statesman berated the agents of the federal government for watching aloof while the nation’s resources were being stolen by oil cabals operating in the oil sector.
He stated that crude oil theft has been going on in the region under the watchful eyes of the military for several years.
The South-South leader maintained that the oil theft in the country involved high-powered technological engineering expertise in connivance with security operatives deplored to protect national asset in the region.
“According to NNPCL, this is part of the 470 thousand barrels of crude oil that is being lost every month, amounting to $700 million.
The international oil companies (IOCs) should be directed, once again, this time with sincerity of purpose, to relocate their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta region, if there is a genuine desire to end this menace.
“I want to advise the federal government to institute a judicial inquiry to investigate this criminal act of oil theft and also, to once again, appeal that jobs should be provided for the teeming unemployed youths; modular refineries should be built to replace the illegal refineries being currently operated, and which do not only affect the economy of the country, but is also devastating the Niger Delta environment.
“The news that there is an illicit four kilometers pipeline, through which crude oil is being siphoned, goes to confirm what I have always said over the years, and what the leaders of the Niger Delta have been shouting about, that the issue of oil theft is being perpetuated by some mafia-like groups, with the connivance of some people in the oil industry, using sophisticated engineering methods to carry out their nefarious act.
“Even, more disturbing is that these activities have been going on over the years under the watchful eyes of the military and security personnel; security personnel who are supposed to be protecting these oil pipelines with the large numbers of gun boats to patrol the area, are unfortunately alleged to be involved in these criminal acts”, the former minister added.