The Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft/Losses in Nigeria has submitted its report to the National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, in Abuja.
In a statement on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Zakari Usman, said the panel received and reviewed several memoranda and reports on oil theft and losses in its findings.
Mr Usman said the report indicated that it was challenging to detect oil theft due to regulatory agencies’ roles.
While submitting the report, the chairman of the panel, retired Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu said the panel discovered several layers of involvement in the illegal theft of crude oil despite the best efforts of the armed forces and other security agencies to combat oil theft.
“The panel also observed that crude oil losses arose from a lack of proper reporting of crude oil production, illegal refining, theft from wellheads and diversion from sophisticated pipelines networks. The panel also attributed losses to the absence of a robust industry-wide metering system and an unworkable security arrangement,” Mr Ndiomu explained.
He added, “The confusing roles of regulatory agencies were also cited as being responsible for making the detection of theft/losses difficult.”
Mr Ndiomu mentioned that the panel engaged key stakeholders from state governments, ministries, departments and agencies, security agencies, regulatory agencies, international and indigenous oil companies, traditional institutions, host communities, artisanal refiners, etc.
Mr Ndiomu called for quick implementation of the report and asserted that if the government implemented the recommendations in the report, oil theft/losses would be adequately addressed, stressing that prompt implementation of the report would not only immediately impact crude oil production levels to meet OPEC’s quota but would also attract foreign direct investment and serve Nigeria’s economic and national security concerns.
Mr Monguno assured President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime would study the report and see its immediate implementation, especially the recommendations with short-term perspectives.
On December 6, 2022, the NSA inaugurated the investigative panel with extensive terms of reference to investigate all aspects of crude oil theft/losses in all its ramifications.
The panel was expected to investigate oil theft/losses in all its ramifications and propose wide-ranging implementable recommendations to enable the administration to take decisive action to end the criminal enterprise within the shortest possible time.
The panel was given 10 weeks to complete the assignment, effective from the inauguration date.
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