By Adewale Sanyaolu

A report by the Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft and Losses in Nigeria has indicted operators and regulators in the country’s oil sector for the widespread act of sabotage in the industry.

The panel had recently submitted its report to the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno.

A statement by Mr. Zakari Usman, Head, Strategic Communication, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), quoting the report, said the panel observed that crude oil losses arose from a lack of proper reporting of crude oil production, illegal refining; theft from wellheads; and diversion from sophisticated pipelines network.

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The panel also attributed losses to the absence of a robust industry-wide metering system and an unworkable security arrangement.

“The confusing roles of regulatory agencies was also cited as being responsible for making the detection of theft/losses difficult.”

The statement added that in arriving at its submission, the panel engaged key stakeholders both within and outside the oil and gas industry, including state governments; ministries, departments and agencies; security agencies; regulatory agencies; international and indigenous oil companies; traditional institutions; host communities; artisanal refiners; among others. It also said that, in discharging the responsibility of the panel, it received and reviewed several memoranda and reports on oil theft and losses. “The panel discovered several layers of involvement in the illegal theft of crude oil despite the best efforts of the Armed Forces and other security agencies to combat the activities of the oil thieves.

The chairman of the investigative panel, Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu(retd) , called for quick implementation of the report, maintaining that if the government implements the recommendations in the report, oil theft and losses would be adequately addressed.