By John Ikani
The Nigerian government through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Maj Gen Babagana Monguno (Retd.), has set up an 11-man Special Investigative Panel to look into cases of oil theft and oil losses in the country.
The panel, comprised of retired top military brass and police officers as well as some administrators, has the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (Retd.), as its Chairman and Mr David Attah as Secretary.
Inaugurating the panel in Abuja, Monguno said that Nigeria was “facing a monumental loss of revenue that ought to have accrued from the sale of crude oil.”
According to him: “Pipeline vandalism and theft of crude oil had led to a significant decline in production with impact in revenue generation.”
He went on to note that: “Nigeria had consistently failed to meet its daily production quota of about two million barrels per day, as provided by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).”
The Terms of Reference (ToRs), according to NSA, are to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the illegal insertion into the Trans-Escravos Pipeline (TEP) around Yokri area in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
Monguno said the panel was expected to investigate oil theft/losses in all its ramifications and propose wide ranging array of implementable recommendations to enable this administration take decisive action to end the criminal enterprise within the shortest possible time.
While noting that members of the panel were appointed based on their proven integrity, track record of service, competence and dedication to the national course, Monguno urged them to work with a view to unravelling individuals and groups perpetrating the national economic crime, no matter how highly placed they might be.
The NSA also tasked the panel to recommend steps/procedures/processes to be taken by government to eliminate the enterprise in the industry to prevent future occurrence; and make any other recommendations on any other issue incidental to the terms of reference.
He said the panel was expected to commence its assignment with immediate effect and to conclude as well as submit its report on or before Feb. 21, 2023.
Responding, the Chairman of the Panel, Ndiomu, said the expertise of each individual on the panel was sufficient to help them fulfil the objectives of setting up the panel.
He said the panel would leave no stone unturned by digging deep to unravel not only the incidences of oil theft/losses but, pre-disposition and causative factors as well as groups and individuals responsible for the criminal enterprise.
“We shall work hard to make you proud not least, for the confidence reposed on us,” he said.