A coalition of organised Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to take further measures other than just identifying and locating actors in the acts and their proceeds.
The CSOs under the auspices of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) stated at a recent press briefing in Abuja that checkmating the menace of oil theft in the country would require more than just identifying the perpetrators but also strengthening extant security measures at oil installations points.
They spoke through the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa, and noted that in addition to Buhari’s claims of identifying perpetrators of crude oil theft and financial institutions where they lodged their proceeds, he should bring the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to effectively undertake their statutory responsibilities.
They also stated that the government must be willing to strengthen extant vessel clearance practices around oil installations as well as enforce rules to arrest ships with their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) transponders switched off, before its efforts at stopping crude oil theft could yield results.
“We fully support all efforts to sanction offenders and recover the funds as impunity has contributed immensely to this problem. We are however concerned that the stealing will continue unless other specific steps are taken,” Musa said.
He further said: “The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) must strictly enforce the ship registration; the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) must strictly enforce the ship-to-ship transfer regulations.
Further buttressing the case to urgently address the corruption, the government must also strengthen vessel clearance practices around oil installations and enforce the rule to arrest ships with their AIS transponder switched off.”
The CSOs also asked the government to institutionalise the practice of publishing the names of suspect ships involved in crude oil theft as well as updating it regularly to serve as deterrent.
Musa who talked about the poor metering facilities at oil installations in the country, equally asked that: “Government should commence the process of installing independent metering facilities that will ensure real-time measurement of crude oil production, transmission and export to prevent rogue oil firms from exploiting the current system to perpetrate oil theft.”
Speaking on petrol subsidy, the CSOs asked Buhari disclose the intention of his government on the scheme, adding that: “A quick resolution of the government’s policy direction in this regard is therefore necessary.”
By Pita Ochai