The Academy of International Affairs has urged the federal government to institute a judicial board of inquiry on oil thefts to identify those behind the stealing of crude oil and petroleum products.
In a statement by its president, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, he said the unwholesome trend which has gone on for too long and unending Turn Around maintenance of refineries need to end to rekindle Nigeria’s enviable position in the world oil market and provide substantial revenues for the country.
Akinyemi said, “Enough is enough of oil thefts in any form or shape. We have been following events trending in the media on the horrible oil thefts which have impoverished our dear country over the years. The issues have been mind-boggling and the academy finds it very difficult to keep mute over issues that adversely affect, not only the country’s domestic affairs but gravely deprive it from earning much needed export revenues and contributing its quota to international supply of petroleum resources.”
He stated that the most troubling aspect of the situation is that despite the presence of armed security personnel, including the army, navy, police, security and civil defence, customs among others, oil thefts have been going on.
“Is it not a big shame that a private company, Tanita Security Services Limited, owned by High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as TomPolo, had to be employed where Nigerian security failed, and TomPolo’s company discovered and unfolded “hidden,” though an open secret, export pipelines being utilised by oil thieves to illegally bunker our vital resources?” he asked.
He said the 4 km pipelines discovered by TomPolo and other pipelines around the oil-producing areas in the Delta region and the creeks could not have been constructed and installed by the natives without being found out by the Nigerian security.
He noted that with the current high price of crude oil in the world market, it is a great opportunity for Nigeria to meet its OPEC quota and earn good money to balance its budgets, put an end to deficit financing, foreign debt, and improve the country’s economy so that it will no longer be called the poverty capital of the world.