In a shocking revelation, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, announced on Thursday that Nigeria has sustained a staggering loss of N16.25 trillion between the years 2009 and 2020, all attributable to crude oil theft. Speaker Abbas made this grim disclosure during the inauguration of an ad hoc committee tasked with investigating crude oil theft and revenue loss in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
The Speaker emphasized the detrimental impact of crude oil theft on the country’s oil production, with a daily loss ranging between five and thirty percent. He expressed disappointment that crucial agencies within the oil and gas sector, including the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, had failed to respond to invitations for collaboration and resolution.
Representing the Speaker at the event, the Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Al-Hassan Ado-Doguwa, warned that unless decisive measures were taken to address this crisis, Nigeria could plunge into a more profound fiscal crisis.
The root cause of this issue, as he highlighted, is the dwindling revenue from the oil and gas sector. Drawing upon data from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Abbas revealed that Nigeria’s oil production had plummeted from 2.51 million barrels per day in 2005 to a mere 1.77 million barrels per day in 2020. In a shocking revelation, he added, “NEITI reports also show that 619 million barrels of crude valued at 46 billion dollars were stolen in the period 2009 to 2020.”
Furthermore, Nigeria has consistently failed to meet its daily production quota, as stipulated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Abbas noted that Nigeria’s OPEC quota had recently been reduced from 1.742 million barrels per day to 1.38 million barrels per day. Despite these constraints, Nigeria struggled to reach this revised quota, with daily production outputs of 1.184 million barrels per day and 1.249 million barrels per day recorded in May and June 2023, respectively. This marked a significant disparity from the budget assumption of 1.69 million barrels per day and underscored the economic crisis facing the nation.
Speaker Abbas also cited external factors contributing to the economic challenges, such as the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which have cast uncertainty over the oil and gas industry.
Al-hassa Runrum, the chairman of the ad-hoc committee, expressed his strong disapproval of the colossal losses incurred due to oil theft and its dire implications for the economy. He asserted that such actions would not be tolerated by any government genuinely committed to the well-being of its citizens. He concluded by stressing the urgency of tackling this issue and securing the nation’s pride, security, and sovereignty, as failure to do so would jeopardize the future of Nigeria’s youth.
The ad hoc committee is now determined to combat this alarming trend, ensuring that Nigeria’s children do not have to seek survival in foreign lands due to these avoidable economic challenges.