World leadersPresident Muhammadu Buhari has made a passionate call on the international community to designate oil theft as an international crime similar to the trade in “blood diamonds.” Buhari made it clear that oil theft constitutes an imminent and credible threat to the economy and stability of oil-producing countries like Nigeria.
The President who addressed the Commonwealth in London today, Wednesday called on the critical stakeholders to lead the charge in this regard.
“Some of us in this hall may be familiar with the Report released by Chatham House, here in London, in 2013, titled “Nigeria’s Criminal Crude: International Options to Combat the Export of Stolen Oil.”
The important findings of the Chatham House document are illuminating and troubling.
“Part of the Report concluded that: (a) Nigerian crude oil is being stolen on an industrial scale and exported, with the proceeds laundered through world financial centres by transnational organized criminals.
(b) Oil theft is a species of organized crime that is almost totally off the international community’s radar, as Nigeria’s trade and diplomatic partners have taken no real action.
(c) Nigeria could not stop the trade single-handedly, and there is limited value in countries going it alone.”
“It is clear therefore, that the menace of oil theft, put at over 150,000 barrels per day, is a criminal enterprise involving internal and external perpetrators. Illicit oil cargoes and their proceeds m [myad]ove across international borders.
“Opaque and murky as these illegal transactions may be, they are certainly traceable and can be acted upon, if all governments show the required political will.
“This will has been the missing link in the international efforts hitherto. Now in London, we can turn a new page by creating a multi-state and multi-stakeholder partnership to address this menace.”