Crude oil thieves are Nigeria’s worst enemies, Senate President Ahmed Lawan laments


Senate President Ahmad Lawan has raised alarm over the rising spate of crude oil theft in the country.

Speaking on Friday at a joint session of the national assembly shortly before President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2023 appropriation bill, Lawan said says crude oil thieves are the worst enemies of the country.

“Mr. President, I consider the oil thieves the worst enemies of our country. The thieves have declared war on our country and our people,” he said.

“I strongly feel that if we do not take the necessary measures to stop the thieves immediately, our economy will be devastated, as efforts to provide infrastructure and diversification of the economy would both be thwarted.

“It is time to take drastic and desperate measures against the thieves.”

Lawan said the move to diversify the economy using oil is “under serious threat”.

“With conflicting figures, projections have put our losses from this malaise at between 700,000 to 900,000 barrels of crude oil per day, leading to about 29 to 35 percent loss in oil revenue in the first quarter of 2022,” he said.

“This represents an estimated total fall from N1.1 trillion recorded in the last quarter of 2021 to N790 billion in the first quarter of this year.

“The situation has worsened. Recently, the loss of our oil has reached one million barrels per day. Translated into monetary terms, our loss is monumental. The figures show we are not able to meet the OPEC daily quota of 1.8million barrels per day.”

The senate president also expressed dismay over floods that have taken over parts of the country.

“We will need to take proactive measures to tackle this and especially manage our dams and other water bodies to curtail the menace of flooding, now becoming a national disaster,” he said.

“Our focus and targets should be on how to prevent these annual floods from occurring in the scale that we experience annually.

“This year, the floods have not only devastated families, but also destroyed our infrastructure, roads particularly.”

According to him, while the country is battling to generate revenue, crude oil theft is a setback to getting the needed money for developmental projects.

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