Osun State Governor and South West Coordinator of All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council for the February 14 general elections, Rauf Aregbesola has frowned at the attitude of the Federal Government at tackling the issue of crude oil theft that had resulted in loss of over N1.2 trillion yearly.
This, Aregbesola said, had led to the current economic downturn that hit all levels of government and the country in particular.
Speaking in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Friday during the Celebration of Life and Books presentation of the Deputy President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Issa Aremu, Aregbesola called on Nigerians irrespective of their political and religious beliefs to use their votes in the coming general elections to bring new change into the political leadership of the country.
According to him, “From July 2013, the Federal Government announced to Nigerians that 400,000 barrels of crude oil were being stolen everyday and as a result, the revenue coming to government either federal or state fell by 40 per cent.
“We must ask ourselves, how does 400,000 barrels translate to 40 per cent decline in revenue? Nigeria produces about 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day, about 500,000 of that go into what they call domestic consumption, so we are left with two million barrels. If we want to use local calculation that cannot and must not be 40 per cent, it should be at best 20 per cent.
“So how does 20 per cent now translate to 40 per cent reduction in revenue of government in Nigeria? If that is too mathematical for us to comprehend, let us look at what Nigeria has lost in twelve months between July 2013 and July 2014 as a result of the loss of 400,000 of crude oil being lost to theft.
“Let us assume that stolen oil cannot attract premium price. Between those months oil price in the international market was between $110 and $115. Let say because the 400,000 barrels of crude oil would be sold at $50 per barrel. If you multiply $50 by 400,000 barrels of crude oil you will get $20 million.
“It simply means $20 million is being lost to theft. Now multiply $20 million for twelve months by seven days in a week and by 54 weeks. I did a summary of this; I arrived at $7.5 million.
“Between July 2013 and July 2014 Nigeria has lost that princely sum of money to oil theft. For those of you who can still not comprehend what $7.5 means, practically Nigeria lost N1.2 trillion to oil theft”.
He queried,” how can Nigeria lose about four tankers daily in the face of a collection of military men; even if they can’t catch them, should the military men throw a banger on the tankers the operators, nay bunkerers will run away?.
Aregbesola stressed, “I want to hazard a guess that it is the accumulation of this stolen crude oil coupled with what is happening in Iraq and Syria that has affected the global price of fuel. So the consequence is that if there is shipped stolen crude from Nigeria and shipped stolen crude from the Middle East, the effect is that we have a glut.
“So the indiscipline in the oil sector in Nigeria coupled with the madness in the Middle East is responsible for the depression in the oil market. Only God knows when and how this will stop. Beginning from August last year, oil is now at its lowest level in recent time.
“It sells for below $50 now. I pray that God will not bring it to as low as 10 dollars; if that happens Nigeria will be in such a dire situation that riding an Okada, as depressing and degrading as it is will be a luxury”.
“The issue with Nigeria has to do with the management or mismanagement of its resources as relates with the type of government we run. Presidential system of government is wasteful and expensive. The real issue with Nigeria is that since 1999 we have had a crop of people who have no business in governance; administering our resources and wasting same; and I will situate this position on something that most of us take for granted”.
He therefore described Comrade Aremu as a great Nigerian, saying that the country needed people like him so as to contribute their quota towards the socio economic development of the nation.
Also speaking, the chairman of the occasion and former chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC), Justice Mustapha Akanbi (rtd) said that, “we are not actually against any government, what we are concerned is about our vision and mission for Africa and Nigeria in particular”
He said, “Nigeria is not working well; we feel concerned and any platform we can use to promote the supreme well being of Nigerians we must do that.
“What we have in Nigeria now is ethnicity, religious bigotry, ethnic jingoism and what have you. We must see ourselves as brothers and sisters; one people bound together by common destiny. I don’t want to leave this world without a united and dynamic Nigeria. Beyond that, Africa must meet the aspirations of the founding fathers on the continent”.
In his own comment, the celebrant, Comrade Aremu said, “If Nigeria does not work, no African will ever survive; and I can give you few examples. When Nigeria was working, it liberated Angola, Mozambiwe, Namibia and South Africa.
“But because Nigeria is no more working, our leaders have become so corrupt they buy houses in London, Dubai. We no longer think big. What am saying in essence is that Nigeria must wake up to the good old days of Shehu Shagari, Ahmadu Bello, Muritala Mohammed”.
He therefore called on Nigerians to continue to shun any acts capable of impeding the growth and development of the nation.