The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has described oil theft in Nigeria, as the country’s “biggest enemy.
The lawmaker stated this on Friday during the presentation of the 2023 budget proposal at the National Assembly in Abuja.
“Mr. President, I consider 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.”
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.
“Mr President, our economy is still challenged by that of revenue. The main source of revenue for the Nigerian government is oil and gas. We always consider the diversification of our economy as crucial and it is indeed crucial,” Lawan added.
“The idea of deploying our revenues from oil and gas to support the diversification into the real sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, mining, etc. is now under serious threat. The large scale and massive stealing of our oil are concerning as this reduces drastically the revenues available to the government.
“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 29-35 percent losses in oil revenue in the first quarter of 2022.
“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 lawmaker said the situation has worsened as the loss of oil has reached one million barrels per day, meaning Nigeria has not been able to meet the OPEC daily quota of 1.8 million barrels per day.
Writing by Julian Osamoto