… Expresses shock over alleged Army, Navy Complicity in oil thefts
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has proposed death penalty for any one found guilty of oil theft in Nigeria.
The reaction comes after the revelation that Nigeria lost N2.3 trillion due to oil theft in the first quarter of 2023.
In a statement by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group called for a comprehensive action to recover the public funds from the perpetrators.
HURIWA stated that the motion moved by Senator Ned Nwoko of the Peoples Democratic Party representing Delta North at the Senate plenary session on Tuesday exposed the alarming rate of pipeline vandalism and oil bunkering in the country.
The motion also pointed at some officers within the security forces, especially the Army and Navy, for collaborating with organised groups and oil companies to steal crude oil using sophisticated techniques.
The Senate had ordered a thorough probe into the activities of these security personnel and groups, and urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to curb the menace that was undermining the nation’s economy and security.
Commending Senator Nwoko for bringing the issue to the attention of the Senate and the public, and expressed its support for the probe, the group also urged the Senate to ensure that the probe was transparent, impartial, and conclusive, and that anyone found culpable was brought to justice.
HURIWA described oil theft as economic sabotage and treasonable as it is not only a crime against the state, but also a crime against humanity, for it deprived millions of Nigerians of their rightful share of the nation’s wealth and resources.
The group lamented that millions of the citizens are living in abject poverty and underdevelopment while the country loses billions of dollars every year due to oil theft.
The group said that this situation was a result of the failure of governance, corruption, and lack of political will to tackle the problem.
HURIWA said that it was time for Nigeria to adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards oil theft, and to impose severe sanctions on anyone involved in it. The group said that it was in favour of applying the death penalty for oil thieves, as it would serve as a deterrent and a warning to others.
HURIWA also called on the Federal Government to review its security strategy in the Niger Delta region, and to ensure that only patriotic and professional officers were deployed to protect the oil facilities. The group said that the government should also engage with the local communities and stakeholders in the region, and address their grievances and demands for environmental justice and social development.