Lagos – Lawmakers in Nigeria’s House of Representatives Thursday demanded that President Goodluck Jonathan demonstrate the political will to clamp down on large-scale crude oil theft that has crippled exports and damaged the West African nation’s economy, local media reported Friday.
“The president [must] take tougher measures against oil thieves,” Zakari Mohammed, spokesman for the House, told reporters in Abuja, according to the Punch newspaper. “The House believes that the oil thieves are not ghosts and can be contained if the president demonstrates the political will to do so.”
The president would need to sanction government agencies that failed in their tasks of securing the country’s oil pipelines, Mohammed reportedly said.
On September 20, lawmakers demanded that oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke resign over the government’s failure to curb oil theft.
The government estimates that 60,000 b/d of Nigeria’s crude oil is stolen, with another 400,000 b/d of production shut-in due to vandalized pipelines.
Nigeria’s oil revenue, which accounts for more than 80% of total government revenue, has fallen short of projections so far this year after production dipped below the 2.53 million b/d target.
Royal Dutch Shell, Nigeria’s biggest producer, lifted a force majeure on Bonny Light crude exports Thursday. The force majeure was put in place September 23 after the Trans Niger Pipeline was shut for repairs when thieves stole oil from the system and damaged the pipeline.