WE hope Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice-Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin was not feeling triumphant when he told the House of Representatives committee probing the oil industry that oil thieves stole only about three million barrels of crude oil monthly. He sounded so.
Petinrin said about 90 million barrels were stolen monthly before Defence Headquarters intervened months back. If he was simply looking at the “savings of 87 million barrels of oil monthly”, he could celebrate. Has he heard that many blame the security agencies for condoning the thefts, which put the economy at peril?
The defence chief must admit that how much oil is stolen remains guesswork. Even if only three million barrels of crude oil were stolen monthly, the magnitude of the theft should not result in the type of posturing that Petinrin brought to the House.
At $75 per barrel, three million barrels of stolen crude cost Nigeria N36 billion monthly. Such huge sums in wrong hands have vast implications. The N34.67 billion the 2012 budget proposed as capital expenditure for the Ministry of Defence – Army, Air Force, Navy – is less than what, from Petinrin submission, thieves steal in one month. Read the rest of this entry »