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Nigerian Business Magnate Tony Elumelu Laments ‘95% of Crude Oil Lost to Theft’

Businessman and Chairman Heirs Holdings, Mr Tony Elumelu, on Thursday bemoaned the fact that Nigeria was losing over 95 per cent of its oil production to thieves. Elumelu, who narrated

Tony Elumelu

Businessman and Chairman Heirs Holdings, Mr Tony Elumelu, on Thursday bemoaned the fact that Nigeria was losing over 95 per cent of its oil production to thieves.

Elumelu, who narrated the ordeal of some of his colleagues at work on his official Twitter handle, noted that apart from the economy, Nigerians are now afraid as a result of the bad security situation.

Elumelu, who is the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a platform which promotes entrepreneurship in Africa, urged Nigerians to be “vocal” about the way they are governed and hold their leaders more accountable.

He added: “How can we be losing over 95 per cent of oil production to thieves? Look at the Bonny Terminal that should be receiving over 200,000bpd barrels of crude oil daily, instead it receives less than 3,000 barrels, leading the operator , Shell to declare force majeure.

“Why are we paying taxes if our security agencies can’t stop this? It is clear that the reason Nigeria is unable to meet its OPEC production quota is not because of low investment but because of theft, pure and simple!”

Elumelu pointed out that while oil producing countries were happy that prices had been rising and their foreign reserves continue to grow, Nigeria is in a state of gloom.
“Meanwhile, oil producing countries are smiling as their foreign reserves rising. What is Nigeria’s problem? We need to hold our leaders more accountable,” he added.
He decried the worsening state of insecurity, public infrastructure and rising inflation in Nigeria.

The usually reticent businessman, who chairs the Board of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), argued that being endowed with huge natural resources, the country should not be in its current decrepit state.

In the last couple of weeks, the state of basic supplies, like electricity and petrol, have worsened, as Nigerians spend time in queues to buy petrol and businesses and homes suffer due to prolonged blackouts. Diesel price has also risen astronomically.

The already bad state of power supply worsened in the last few weeks, with the authorities blaming shortage of gas and dipping water levels at the country’s hydropower stations for the development.

In addition, the prices of goods and services have recently skyrocketed, with diesel increasing by about 300 per cent and airline operators threatening to stop their services due to galloping aviation fuel prices.

Elumelu, who narrated the ordeal of some of his colleagues at work on his offical Twitter handle, noted that apart from the economy, Nigerians now lived in fear due to the security situation.

He tweeted, “This morning, I am listening to my colleagues at the office bemoan the very pressing issues that they face everyday in this country, and how things have been getting worse and worse – no electricity for five days, hikes in the price of diesel, frightening food inflation, etc.

“How can a country so rich in natural resources have 90 per cent of its citizens living in hardship and poverty? I have often said that access to electricity is critical for our development, alleviation of poverty and hardship. And speaking of security, our people are afraid! Businesses are suffering.”

The businessman, who holds a controlling interest in Transnational Corporation (Transcorp), also wrote about the country’s energy sector, stressing that oil theft, not lack of investment in the upstream, was generally responsible for Nigeria’s inability to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota.

In the forthcoming election, Elumelu urged Nigerians to be intentional about what they want and support leaders that will deliver.
He said, “Elections are coming – security and resources need to be everyone’s agenda – let’s be vocal for our nation’s priority.

“Evil prevails when good people are silent. We need to be vocal about 2023. Let’s focus on Nigeria. Demand and advocate for leaders that deliver. In 2023, Nigeria must be on a strong trajectory for progress and development.”

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Dike Onwuamaeze in Lagos

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