Insurgents, others benefit from oil theft proceeds – Uduaghan

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Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has said political insurgencies like the one being carried out in Nigeria by the Boko Haram sect might be getting funds from proceeds of stolen crude oil.

The governor’s claim was contained in a press release issued in Asaba, the Delta State capital on Wednesday by the Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Information, Pius Mordi.

The governor asserted that more 400,000 barrels of crude oil are stolen every day in the Niger Delta and shipped overseas.

He said funds from such theft could threaten world peace and democracy if concerted action was not taken to curb it.

He spoke at an African Business Roundtable-organised workshop on combating emerging threats held on the sidelines of the on-going United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Uduaghan said with 90 per cent of stolen oil exported, the cash return is enough to empower individuals and organizations engaged in the theft to destabilize democracies in the West African sub-region.

Uduaghan, who is also the chairman of the Committee on Crude Oil Theft set up by the Federal Government said the growing insurgency by extremist groups and violence on the civil population may not be unconnected with the huge cash outlay that cannot be traced due to crude oil theft.

He called on the international community to create a platform where stolen crude oil can be tracked and disbursement of proceeds adequately monitored as such funds usually fuel the acquisition of small arms.

He said the balance 10 per cent of 400,000 barrels stolen daily is processed locally at the modular refineries spread across the Niger Delta region, noting that the pockets of persons arrested from those locations have only token effect in combating the scourge.

Extant laws and legislations for prosecuting suspects, Uduaghan said, are grossly inadequate, noting that a strong legal framework needs to be created so that kingpins and promoters of crude oil theft can be prosecuted.

He said his committee has embarked on the sensitisation of security agencies on the need for them to be alive to their responsibilities while also encouraging international oil companies to carry out corporate social responsibilities in their areas of operation.

The governor said IOCs must improve on the technology deployed in the laying of pipelines as the prevailing style of laying them on the surface is no longer acceptable.

As part of his government’s strategy to curb oil theft in Delta State, Uduaghan said communities are being empowered through the programmes put in place by the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission.

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