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Nigeria acquires fuel-monitoring equipment

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By Abraham Adekunle

NUPRC boss says new initiative will create a paradigm shift.

The Federal Government of Nigeria announced that it has acquired a new piece of fuel-monitoring equipment. Nigeria depends on oil for the majority of its revenue generation. In fact, the country’s foreign exchange earnings are from the export of crude oil mainly extracted from the Niger Delta region. However, the region has experienced the worst treatments from the government, foreign multinational oil companies and the natives of the region. An oil company such as Shell operates in the region with the permission of the government.

When there are cases of environmental degradation there, such as oil spillage, the firms are quick to dissociate from them and blame it on sabotage from the natives of the place or non-state actors. While the fact that oil exploration and extraction in the region cannot be done without having causing spills, evidence has shown that saboteurs are also responsible for the contamination of farmlands and rivers. When oil is spilled into the environment, it contaminates land and water resources, rendering people jobless and without any source of income.

Oil theft has affected Nigeria finances in the last few years.

These thefts are not a new thing in the Niger Delta. In fact, there was a period when residents of Port Harcourt created awareness on social media because of black soot and cloudy skies caused by illegal oil refineries. As pipelines were being vandalized and oil being illegally refined, the environmental effects were devastating. Recently, Nigeria experienced a record low output of below one million barrels per day. This was because the oil was being stolen and sold on the black market.

A lot of vessels have been seized on Nigerian waterways illegally carrying crude oil and making ways to cross the Nigerian borders. The most amazing of the cases of oil theft that have made the news is the siphoning of oil through a pipeline illegally wedged to an official line and used to divert oil to an offshore depot. The depot was not owned by the government nor by any of the foreign oil firms. The private security company given the job of securing the creeks from such exposures, effectively ending its operation.

Every liter of oil taken will be monitored by the government.

It still remains a mystery how the government could not discover that oil was being diverted by oil thieves. However, with the new equipment acquired, this will change. Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, the managing director of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), said new equipment has been acquired by the commission to monitor every litre of oil taken from Nigeria. According to him, the new initiative will create a paradigm shift in oil-related revenue generation in the country.

This was disclosed on Tuesday at an event organised by HEDA Resource Centre and Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CFTI). The two-day National Anti-Corruption Conference was held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital with the theme “Nigeria and the Fight against Corruption: Reviewing the Buhari Regime and Setting Agenda for the Tinubu Administration.” Earlier at the event, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, said billions of dollars were being lost by Nigeria to oil theft and the refusal of oil companies to pay the total expected taxes amounting to billions of naira over the years.

Falana described illicit flow of funds as a challenge for FG.

Mr. Falana said that the activity has attracted no action to date. Nigeria also failed to put a mechanisms in place to determine how many liters of oil are taken from the country’s onshore and offshore facilities. While delivering his lead presentation on the theme, “Effective recovery of illicit assets and blocking opportunities for Illicit Financial Flow; Role of international frameworks, Bodies, Courts and instruments in a context of new dispensation,” he described the illicit financial flow as a challenge for the country.

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