Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, expressed dismay at the continuous stealing of Nigeria’s crude oil by illegal bunkerers, vowing that his administration would do everything possible to stem the tide by bringing the perpetrators to book.
The President stated this at the opening of the Maritime Sector Presidential Retreat with the theme, “Harnessing the Potential of Nigeria’s Maritime Sector for Sustainable Economic Development” at the Presidential Villa.
He upbraided those involved in the crime and told them to “throw their heads under the pillow” in shame as there was no justification for their actions.
Jonathan’s comment came on a day the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala revealed that the country loses over N2 trillion annually in capital flight to foreign countries following the inability of the indigenous ship owners to fully participate in lifting of the over 150 million tons of cargo from the country including crude oil exports.
According to Jonathan, “it is embarrassing that it is only in Nigeria that crude oil is stolen. It is a very bad news and I believe that Nigerians and foreigners who are involved in that act need to throw their heads under the pillow because all over the world, it is only in Nigeria that crude oil is stolen.
He said: “This must stop. We will be decisive in putting an end to this malaise. Our charge to all relevant agencies and departments of government is to work cooperatively with the required urgency.”
He said the maritime sector was a critical component of the economic development of a modern state, noting that it was in this regard that it was incorporated as a major component of the transformation agenda.
The president said the “sector facilitates approximately 90 per cent of world trade, creates millions of jobs and generates billions of dollars in economic output. The sector, to say the least, is a major engine of our national growth strategy.
Article courtesy of allafrica.com, written by Ben Agande.