HUMAN rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Thursday alleged that $12.7bn worth of crude oil was stolen from the country between 2011 and 2014.
Falana spoke at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria in Abuja, and called for the immediate recovery from oil companies, royalties that ought to have accrued to the Federation Account since 2014.
He also called on PENGASSAN to prevail on the anti-corruption agencies to probe and trace the funds, as well as determine the culprits.
The lawyer said the crude oil theft data was released by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, and promised to make the report available to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other stakeholders.
“The study revealed that the value of the money from oil stolen from Nigeria is $12.7bn. The oil was discharged in one port. We have identified who the oil majors are and the shipping companies involved; but since 2014, we have been begging the Nigerian government to recover the money,” Falana stated.
He urged PENGASSAN, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Nigeria Labour Congress to institute a probe, track and investigate the volume of crude oil stolen from the country and discharged at ports in the United States, India, China, France and Britain, noting that if the issue was taken seriously, Nigeria would see the return of over $100bn.
“This is the real money that should be recovered. That is why I am appealing to NUPENG, PENGASSAN and the NLC to assist in going to the root of this criminality at the international level and recover the money and put it in the federation’s coffers so that our people can enjoy the benefits of the oil and gas industry,” Falana said.
The legal practitioner also challenged the labour centres to look into the Halliburton case to ensure that justice prevailed and see to it that recovered funds were used for the benefit of the country.
The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, urged PENGASSAN to collaborate with the corporation.
He said, “The NNPC appreciates your consistent involvement in the industry’s policy formulation, the most recent being the Petroleum Industry Bill; the corporation also appreciate your advocacy for robust local content development as well as your complementary role to grow a virile and productive economy for the country.
“These have gone a long way to demonstrate the high stake you have exhibited in the service of the industry and the nation. I can only add that you keep up your good work.”