Civil society group, journalists seek ways to end oil theft

Illegally refined diesel transported to market

Local and international action against oil theft and illegal refining in the Niger-Delta have been identified as one of the ways to fight the menace in the country.

At a one-day interactive session with investigative journalists organized by the Human and Environment Agenda, HEDA, in Lagos, Wednesday, participants agreed that the impact of oil theft and illegal refining have begun to take its toll on the nation’s economy.

A communique issued at the end of deliberations demanded that transparency be instituted in all sub-sectors of the oil industry.

“All agencies of government overseeing the oil sector should set up information desks to provide information to the public upon request in line with the FOI Act,” read the 11 point communique.

“Media practitioners should forge partnership with CSOs (civil society organizations) to conduct advocacy, seek access to information and publish stories on oil theft.

“Journalists should collaborate with local oil producing communities and those hosting oil and petroleum pipelines to expose activities of illegal operators and reveal information on actual situations,” the communique added.

The communique also urged the encouragement of local citizens to “legally participate” in the oil industry, promotion of attitudinal change among stakeholders, and objective use of the social media and internet to promote transparency.

About two dozen journalists participated in the workshop which was tagged ‘Transparency and Accountability in the Oil Sector,’ hosted by HEDA, with support from FOSTER (Oxford Policy Management).

Participants noted that Nigeria’s oil resource economy has generated more crises than national unity and development.

“Oil theft seems unstoppable because Niger Deltans have lost most of their legal means of livelihood and they can only fall back on illegal oil businesses,” participants stated.

“Oil theft and illegal refining also seem unstoppable because agencies of government including security agencies and ‘powerful’ elites have been found to be deeply involved.

“While illegal refining is smaller in scale and financial worth, oil theft is more lucrative and larger in scale.”

Participants also noted that oil theft serves international interests, while illegal refining serves local interest, adding that the negative environmental impact of oil theft is felt across Nigeria.

In his welcome address, Olanrewaju Suraju, Executive Director of HEDA, said that the session was an opportunity to forge deeper engagement between journalists and the civil society.

“The issue of oil theft is a major national and international embarrassment,” said Mr. Suraju.

“This is an opportunity to open and sustain an engagement and create an additional platform for the media and civil society to focus on the oil industry,” he added.


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  • redeem

    same old rubbish——–which is more important–the fight with boko haram or the socalled theft of my oil resources—–since 1957———–Nigerian armed forces are more interested in remaining in the niger delta to steal oil than fight–boko haram—too much noise is being made by the soldiers because they want to remain in the zone–the work of protecting the oil pipelines is not I repeat is never that of the navy or any of the armed forces————————————those who steal crude oil in the SS—are d retired generals-from the fulani north—————————————————–not the small flies—————–why is the army so much after bunkerers yet cannot fight—–the insurgents–in the north——-the boko haram fighters————because there is no money to be made in borno abi—–like d crude oil deals—-most of ewhich are in hard currencies-pounds and dollars–thieves——Nigeria is the only country in the worold where we have the armed forces involved in oil deals——i begi

  • Olayinka Oladoke

    I hv known Charlie Boy to be a good writer. So I am nt surprised to read this article. I know beyond reasonable doubt, that he has seen the efforts of INEC under the umbrella of Prof Athahiru Jega who has recently added more beautiful feathers to his wing through his unshaking judgement on 2015 election. However, I think on the other way round, this article is not having any undertone concerning the upcoming election in Lagos State. Beautifully handsome Charlie Boy u rock!

  • Daniel Ikwuagwu

    Maurice Iwu on my mind. No comparison between a diamond and a copper. May we always stand for all that is right, irrespective of the opposition and inducement to do otherwise. Well done, Jega.

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