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Uzodimma: Crude Oil Theft Is A Monster

“At the end of this assignment, we will put together a report that is very bold and courageous.”

Hope Uzodinma

The National Executive Council (NEC) Committee on Crude Oil Theft and Management on Thursday promised to come up with a robust report that will address the critical challenges of the crude oil sector.

While describing crude oil theft in Nigeria as a “monster”, the committee said the said the menace is particularly worrisome, tackling it decisively will improve the oil production profile of the country.

The chairman of the committee and Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, after its meeting held in Abuja also ruled out the importation of crude oil in Nigeria but expressed optimism of an end to it.

He however said since the oil sector is gradually being deregulated, and under the open market system, private refineries can buy their crude oil from any market and anywhere in the world.

According to him, the report of the committee, if implemented by NEC will stop crude oil theft in  Nigeria.

Arise News reports that apart from Uzodinma, others present at the Thursday meeting included Governors Bassey Otu (Cross River), Mai Bala Buni (Yobe), Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo 

and Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite.

The committee had during its last meeting in January 2024 developed an action plan and roadmap that would be used to confront crude oil theft head on, and resolved to identify the areas of leakages, likely causes and way forward.

Members of the committee after its reconstitution in December are the Governor of Ogun State representing South-West; Governor of Plateau State (North-Central); Governor of Rivers (South-South); Governor of Borno (North-East); Governor of Jigawa State (North-West); Governor of Abia State (South-East); Minister of Budget and Economic Planning; Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy; CBN Governor; GCEO of NNPCL, NDDC Chairman, and Service Chiefs.

The secretariat is domiciled at the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning while the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr Tope Fasua is also a member of the committee.

On Thursday, Uzodinma said there is an end in sight to crude oil theft in Nigeria.

He said, “This is Sub-Committee on National Economic Council and our job is really to look into crude oil theft, and prevention of the theft. Arising from that, we did a lot of fact findings, we made a lot of consultations. We spoke to critical stakeholders and we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“It is our hope that at the end of this assignment, we will put together a report that is very bold and courageous that will be useful to NEC, and if implemented, will stop this monster called crude oil theft. Then, our natural resources endowed by God, oil and gas, we will be able to tap into it and develop our country.

“The implications of increasing production and reducing losses is that we will become more solvent, our Naira will also be stronger and access to foreign exchange easy. In consequence of that, the cost of living will come down, and prices will begin to come down, inflation will also begin to reduced.”

“Nigeria Not Importing Crude Oil”

Uzodinma said, “I don’t think and I have never seen it anywhere that Nigeria is going to import or is importing crude oil. Of course, the sector is gradually being deregulated. In our private refineries, of course under the open market system, private refineries can buy their crude oil from any market, anywhere in the world.

“But for Nigeria as a country, currently we are exporting crude oil, I pray that there will be a day when we begin to import crude oil to augment what we have for the purpose of manufacturing and stimulating our economic activities. 

“In South Korea, they have 22 refineries, and they don’t produce one barrel of crude oil. All the crude oil they use for processing or for servicing the refineries are all imported and it is defined and developed economy.

“The report will not come to you before going to me; by the time we are being able to put our report, we will send the report to NEC for approval. But there is no doubt in my mind that at the end of the day, all leakage points and all loopholes and things we couldn’t do well in the past, if identified, will all be corrected.”

Friday Olokor, Abuja 

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