The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has declared that the grave phenomenon of oil theft and its global support system represents another face of terrorism which has continued to remain a clog in the wheel of Nigeria's economic growth trajectory.
She stated this in London recently while delivering the keynote address at the Powerlist 2014, organised by the UK- based Power List Magazine, where she was also listed as one of the 25 Africans who are transforming the continent.
In her presentation entitled: "The Strengths and Obligations of the African Diaspora," the minister explained that the ugly episode of oil theft has continued to thwart efforts at sustained economic growth because the effect of the oil theft scourge reverberates across the entire spectrum of the Nigerian economy.
According to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), about $2.23 billion (N191 billion) revenue that should have accrued to the federal government from oil proceeds was lost to the activities of crude oil thieves in the first quarter (1Q) 2013, with an estimated $6 billion lost annually to the menace.
"The grave phenomenon of oil theft and its global support system represents another face of terrorism counteracting our efforts at sustaining the trajectory of our high-growth economy, the stability of our society, and the enhancement and wellbeing of our people," the minister said, adding that effort at combating the menace locally was made more complicated because of the international slant to the crime.
"Theft of this magnitude is not only highly technical, but it is also an international-level crime. It is aided and abetted by syndicates outside of Africa who are the patrons and merchant-partners of the oil thieves. This crime against Nigeria must be resisted, as we simultaneously deploy in-country resources to fight this menace," she said.
While calling on the global community to advocate strongly against crude oil theft Alison-Madueke pointed out that it "perpetuates criminality, defrauds economies and discourages investment. This is a crime that threatens not only Nigeria's oil and gas sector, but also threatens the security of the Gulf of Guinea, and by extension threatens the global economic order."
She however, added that despite the scourge of crude theft, the Nigerian oil and gas industry has been placed on the path of growth engendered by the transformation agenda of the present administration, noting particularly the Nigerian Content Act, signed into law in 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan.