The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Office, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, has said the ongoing theft of the nation’s crude oil by an unidentified cartel should be seen by all Nigerians as a war against the country.
Kuku said unless decisive steps were taken to arrest the ugly trend, the lingering issue of crude oil theft in the nation could cripple the economy.
The President’s aide made the comment while playing the host to the national executives of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, led by the association’s Vice President, Mr. Adamu Umoru, in Abuja on Tuesday.
Kuku said volume of crude oil being lost to the oil thieves could only be compared to the loss experienced at the peak of insurgency in the Niger Delta.
He described crude oil theft as the worst act of economic sabotage against the country in recent time.
He also said the frightening theft of the nation’s oil resources could even rise from the present figure of 400,000 barrels to between 800,000 per day and one million, which would have disastrous effects, if steps were not taken .
“The theft of our oil should only be equated with the Blood Diamonds in Sierra Leone. This is the greatest act of sabotage against the Nigerian economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, PENGASSAN has denied media reports that its members were involved in the theft of the country’s crude oil.
The Deputy President of the association,Umoru, said the impression created in the media that PENGASSAN members were involved in the theft of crude oil was wrong, as it was clear that they lacked the huge amount of capital and high technology required to commit the crime.
He said, “If the Navy cannot combat it, is it oil workers we are talking about? It a high technology crime. Let us divert the truth by saying it is oil workers that are behind oil theft.”
Information from Punch was used in this report.