THE Nigeria House of Representatives has inaugurated an ad-hoc Committee on Crude Oil Theft.
Speaking during the inauguration, Speaker of the House, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, threatened tough action on oil thieves and vandals.
He said no country could endure such ‚Äúblatant rape of its resources‚Äù by a few criminals who seem to grow bolder by the day.
No self-respecting Parliament can watch this kind of gross sabotage and not intervene, he warned.
‚ÄúWe must therefore end the kind of impunity that makes people think that our nation is a lawless place where people can get away with anything.
We are here to prove that this nation has the ability to make things right and to make people pay for their crimes,‚Äù he said.
‚ÄúWe cannot begin to quantify the full economic and political damage that the activities of oil vandals have caused. For a nation that needs all the resources it can get to take care of its growing population of angry poor youth, this kind of rapacious theft of the Commonwealth is nothing short of a disaster.
‚ÄúSo long as we allow these oil bunkerers to remain in business, so long will our people go without the basic needs of life. Since oil is our main source of wealth as a nation, we must do everything possible to defend the integrity of the process of oil production and sale in the international market,‚Äù he added.
He stressed the need to establish a robust regulatory framework to plug all loopholes through which all sorts of ‚Äúofficial‚Äù and ‚Äúunofficial‚Äù corruption thrive in the oil sector.
‚ÄúWe need to put in place the right kind of legislation to improve the monitoring of on-shore and off-shore areas in order to discourage vandalism.
‚ÄúWe need to establish a robust regulatory framework to plug all loopholes through which all sorts of official and unofficial corruption thrive in the oil sector,‚Äù he said.
The country loses between 100 000 to 400 000 barrels of crude oil daily, leading to the loss of billions in oil revenue.
*Augustine Osayande, CAJ News