By Linda Ike
The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has expressed disappointment over the massive oil theft in the country which according to them has become an organized racket under the All Progressives Congress (APC) Administration.
The Caucus disclosed that oil thieves are having a field day stealing up to 400,000 barrels of crude oil everyday which amounts to a daily siphoning of about $40m, giving the current average global oil price of around $100 a barrel
A statement signed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu stated that the caucus is disturbed by reports of alleged complicity by certain corrupt Government officials as evinced in the clandestine entrance and berthing of a 3-million-barrel capacity super tanker, MV. Heroic Idun in Nigerian waters to criminally load millions of barrels of stolen crude oil from Nigeria.
He lamented that such reported complicity is also evidenced in the failure of the Nigerian authorities to effectively intercept and arrest the criminal tanker and its crew, which successfully left the Nigerian waters only to be apprehended by the Equatorial Guinea Navy.
Elumelu said, “the 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 Leader said 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 reference to the circumstances that facilitated the reported illegal operation by MV Heroic Idun as well as its escape from our waters.
He asked, “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 caucus commended the patriotic officers of the Nigerian Navy for their collaboration with Equatorial Guinea Navy to effect the arrest of the criminal vessel and urges such officers to assist in ensuring that those behind this repulsive crime against our nation are all brought to book.
They also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to, in the interest of suffering Nigerians, halt the hemorrhaging of the national economy through crude oil theft and strengthen surveillance on the country’s waters.