The House of Representatives on Thursday berated President Goodluck Jonathan for doing too little to curb increasing oil theft, saying government’s foot-dragging on the matter was tantamount to “economic sabotage”.
Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Zakary Mohammed said the government had no excuse for not addressing crude oil theft with new technologies available.
“As per oil theft, leadership is not all about excuses. It is all about proffering solutions. I know that those that are involved in this unpatriotic act are not ghosts… they are (all) human beings, and government has the machinery to put it into goodwill and tackle oil bunkerers in the oil theft thing,” the House of Reps spokesman told journalists on Thursday.
“For us at the House, we fail to agree that oil theft cannot be surmounted. We know that we have security operatives. Government has been empowered on that. There are budgetary provisions made for that.
Mr. Mohammed, who was reacting to a question about rising theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta, said Mr. Jonathan should not only sit and watch, but should apply punitive measures when necessary.
“It is laughable for us to begin to talk about oil theft at this time and age because technology has moved in such a way that your pipelines can be censored in such a way that, if there is any leakage anywhere, or breakage, you will be alerted. We should move towards that. The world has gone beyond policing by baton. But you can sit in one place and still police so well with cameras. I think we should be more innovative rather than this one-point-one-man thing.
“We believe that the alternatives, the openings (to end oil theft) have not been explored enough to be able to tackle oil theft, and we at the House, we see that as economic sabotage. We’d expect that the relevant agencies step up to arrest oil theft. We are sick and tired of people talking about oil theft, oil theft… as if it is ghosts that are doing it. We should go beyond that.
“Who’s benefiting from that (oil theft)? Where’s the market for the oil theft? We should begin to work as a government to discourage that because, if we work that hard, I’m sure that we should find solutions, and we’ll be saving this country a lot of money that would be planned back to addressing our infrastructural deficits.”