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HomeOil and GasOil thieves sabotaging our economy, we must stop them – Senate President

Oil thieves sabotaging our economy, we must stop them – Senate President

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, on Friday fumed at what he described as staggering oil theft in the country, saying crude oil thieves have declared war on the country.

Lawan was speaking on Friday during a joint session of the National Assembly shortly before President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2023 Appropriation Bill at the House of Representatives chamber.

It’s Buhari’s last budget in power as the country heads for another general elections in February 2023 to choose his successor.

Lawan, while lamenting that oil thieves have declared war on the country, said despite attempts by successive administrations to diversify the Nigerian economy, crude oil has remained the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.

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

He added that, “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, pointing out that Nigeria’s quest to move away from oil is “under serious threat”.

The Senate President said, “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.

“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.”

On the flood that has submerged a large part of Lokoja, Kogi State and some part of the state, Lawan said, “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.

“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” he said.

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