27th September, 2016

Press Release

Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice ANEEJ has backed the proposed plan by the National Assembly, to probe an alleged heist of crude and gas totaling over $17billion from 2011-2014, and urged that the panel should comprise Nigerians of integrity.

This statement by the ANEEJ Executive Director, Rev David Ugolor, was sequel to reports in the media that the National Assembly is already constituting a probe panel to look into instances of oil and gas theft in Nigeria from 2011-2014.

‘ANEEJ is happy with the latest plan by the National Assembly to unravel whatever circumstances which may have led to theft of national resources to the extent that we are now in a recession. We believe that if proceeds from oil and gas were prudently and effectively managed, it would not have opened up room for as huge a heist of $17bn. Even though the time span indicated by the lawmakers is a start, a probe from 2011-2014 barely can address the remote causes of the huge loss to Nigeria, and all the individuals behind the oil heist’, the Rev Ugolor said.

The ANEEJ statement expressed hope that those behind the stealing of our collective resources must be tracked, identified, brought to book and used as deterrents from future occurrences.

“Beyond the usual fan-fare and high hopes associated with setting up of probe panels in Nigeria, ANEEJ wants to see that the outcome of the probe is implemented to the letter beyond mere soap opera, as previous probes of the Oil and Gas industry by the National Assembly and the Executive arm of the Federal Government have not seen indicted suspects being made to pay for their misdemeanor’, Ugolor stated.

ANEEJ is interested in the success of the probe to draw attention to the need to quickly pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which seeks to regulate the oil and gas sectors and to check corruption and cases of fraud.

‘What is important at this stage is to set up a concurrent template for the use of monies to be recovered from this probe. If this can be done as quickly as possible, there will be no need for Nigeria to tinker with the idea of selling off its national assets like refineries. The National Assembly probe of oil and gas accruals from 2011 to 2014 must be able to set the benchmark for the proper account of the number of crude oil Nigeria produces per day. The current practice wherein multinationals give unverifiable numbers of the number of the barrels of crude from Nigeria is another form of heist and must be regulated as well’, the Rev Ugolor said in the statement.