Crude Oil Theft: International Crime?

The Nigerian Navy Wednesday resolved that it was time bold steps were taken in tackling head-on the problem of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Navy Wants Crude Oil Theft Treated as International Criminal Offence

Okon Bassey and Tobi Soniyi

The Nigerian Navy Wednesday resolved that it was time bold steps were taken in tackling head-on the problem of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the nation’s maritime domain.

The resolve, however, came on the heels of a call by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on President Goodluck Jonathan to expedite action in addressing the menace of oil theft, stating that N14 trilion worth of oil was stolen from the country between 2003 and 2008. The declaration was made at a two-day retreat by the Navy for Maritime stakeholders on the theme: “Deterring Crude Oil Theft and Pipeline Vandalism in Nigeria: A Panacea for National Economic prosperity”.

Participants at the retreat included the Chief of Naval Staff, Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy and Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Minister of Defense, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defense, the Chief of Defense Staff represented by Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air staff, Inspector-General of Police (IG), Controller General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Head of Companies, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other maritime stakeholders.

At the end of the retreat, participants resolved that steps should be taken to establish campaign strategies to make crude oil theft an international criminal offence similar to the case of stolen diamond in Sierra-Leone, which is also referred to as blood diamond.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the retreat stressed that: “Efforts should also concentrate on the strategy of severance of links between crude oil thieves and buyers through greater collaboration and application of the instrument of diplomacy with the international community.”

The communiqué described as grossly inadequate resources made available for the Nigerian Navy to carry out the task of protecting the nation’s territorial domain, which is about 84,000 sq nautical miles.

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Source: This Day Live.

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