The Speaker of the House of Representatives Dr Tajudeen Abbas says Nigeria lost about $46 billion dollars (N16.25 trillion) to crude oil theft between 2009 and 2020.
The Speaker made the remark while inaugurating the ad hoc committee to investigate crude oil theft and loss of revenue.
Dr Abbas stated that the menace of crude oil theft has drastically hampered the growth of the country’s oil production, with Nigeria losing between 5 to 30 percent of daily crude oil production.
He however expressed shock that critical agencies in the oil and gas sector such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, and Ministry of Petroleum Resources among others failed to honour the invitation of the committee.
According to him, the Heads of the agencies are not doing the nation any good by refusing to appear before the parliament to answer questions on the critical aspect of the economy.
Represented by the Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the Speaker said if decisive action was not taken to address the issue, the country may be thrown into a deeper fiscal crisis due to dwindling revenue from the oil and gas sector.
Quoting data from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the Speaker said Nigeria’s oil production declined from 2.51 million barrels per day in 2005 to 1.77 million barrels per day in 2020.
“NEITI reports also show that 619 million barrels of crude valued at $46 billion were stolen in the period 2009-2020”, adding that “Nigeria has continually failed to meet its daily production quota as set by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).”
While saying that the nation faces a major fiscal crisis, the Speaker said that global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has continued to cast a cloud of uncertainty on the oil and gas industry in the country.
The Chairman of the Committee Alhassan Rumrum, said the volume of losses occasioned by oil theft in the country and its associated impact on the economy is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated by any government that sincerely loves its citizens.
While commending the President for the courageous steps so far taken to rebuild the country, Rumrum said the efforts will be in vain unless the house make a resolute statement and send a powerful message through both words and actions, declaring that oil theft and all form of hydrocarbon unaccountability will not be tolerated under this administration.
The representative of the Nigeria Police Force, Mr Alabi Abiodun, said the police have put in place a task force to assist other security agencies in arresting those attacking oil facilities.
In addressing the menace, Abiodun said perpetrators of the act should be handed over to the Nigerian police to prosecute them effectively.