Abuja, Lagos Bigwigs responsible for oil theft in Niger Delta – Dickson

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Senator Seriake Dickson, who represents Bayelsa West in the National Assembly, claims that bigwigs from Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, are behind the Niger Delta oil theft.

The politician, who has served in the red chamber since 2020, appeared on Inside Sources with Laolu Akande, a socio-political programme broadcast on Channels Television on Friday.

Dickson, a two-term governor of Bayelsa State in Nigeria’s South-South geopolitical zone, claimed that the official system and oil companies profit from oil theft in the Niger Delta and lamented a lack of national values that leads people to exploit the country’s resources for personal gain.

Dickson stated, “Why should a country like Nigeria, which has been producing and exporting oil for the past 70 years, not have a scientific method of metering, recording what leaves, what is pumped, what is sold, and what is not sold?” It’s deliberate.

“It’s not a Niger Delta thing; it’s just happening there and it is unfortunate that it has destroyed communities because there is too much illegal money, illegal arms, illicit drugs and it has fueled cultism because people want to get the loyalties of young people to be able to hold territories where oil facilities are. They need weapons and young men that are always high on drugs. You think a man who slaughters and cuts off a man’s head and dismember him is normal? So, those are people who are actively on drugs.

“People from Abuja and Lagos are the masterminds and the official system is not ignorant and not innocent. The official security system, the official oil system, the official federal system, all of it in its entirety. It’s a criminal, powerful system.”

He said just as the world formed a consensus against stolen blood diamond, a global consensus should be formed that makes the international community reject stolen crude oil from Nigeria.

Dickson called for strong political will on the part of leaders at all levels to stop the menacing trend of oil theft.

‘A Malignant Cancer’

Oil theft has become a malignant cancer in Nigeria for years with unimaginable volumes of oil being lifted by some cabals in the oil sector. In 2022, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited had said it uncovered an illegal oil connection operated for nine years with about 600,000 barrels per day of oil lost in the same period.

About 108,000 barrels of crude are reportedly stolen daily in Nigeria. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries which Nigeria is a member estimates that the country lost 2.3 million barrels monthly, amounting to over $1 billion every three months.

Security agents had made some arrests and destroyed vessels used for crude oil theft off the Niger Delta creeks but experts believed that the menace which have both robbed the nation financially and environmentally would become a thing of the past when the government stamp out official complicity and bunkering, ensure transparency and accountability.