Oil theft in Nigeria and its global support system represents another face of terrorism which has continued to be a clog in the wheel of the nation’s economic growth, the Federal Government has said.
It said efforts at combating the menace locally had been made more complicated as a result of the international slant to the crime.
A statement on Sunday said the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said this while delivering the keynote address at the Powerlist 2014 programme in London.
The statement from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation quoted the minister as saying that oil theft had continued to thwart the efforts of sustaining economic growth.
“The grave phenomenon of oil theft and its global support system represents another face of terrorism counteracting our efforts at sustaining the trajectory of our high-growth economy, the stability of our society, and the enhancement and wellbeing of our people,” Alison-Madueke was quoted to have said.
According to her, the level of oil theft perpetuated in Nigeria is beyond the ability of local residents in the areas where such crimes occur.
She said, “Theft of this magnitude is not only highly technical, but it is also an international level crime. It is aided and abetted by syndicates outside of Africa who are the patrons and merchant-partners of the oil thieves. This crime against Nigeria must be resisted, as we simultaneously deploy in-country resources to fight this menace.”
“It perpetuates criminality, defrauds economies and discourages investment. This is a crime that threatens not only Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, but also threatens the security of the Gulf of Guinea, and by extension threatens the global economic order.”
The minister however stated that the Nigerian oil and gas industry had been placed on the path of growth and irreversible progress.
She said, “The Nigerian Content Act, signed into law in 2010 by President (Goodluck) Jonathan, vigorously advocates for indigenous participation, job creation and in-country capacity development and has nurtured leading edge indigenous companies capable of competing with the traditional multinationals.
“The very topical Petroleum Industry Bill is a historic piece of legislation designed to effect extensive and much needed legal, regulatory, financial and environmental reform to Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.”
According to the statement, Alison-Madueke is also listed as one of the 25 Africans who are transforming the continent by the United Kingdom-based Power List Magazine.