Against the backdrop of the unending theft of crude oil in Nigeria, Human Rights Activist, Chief Femi Falana, on Monday tasked the federal government to install technology to monitor crude oil theft in the country.
He said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) now the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) had seven years ago acquired N50 billion worth of equipment which has not been installed, asking it to immediately install the technology to stop crude oil theft.
Falana spoke at the 13th Memorial Lecture and Social Night Tribute to honour the memory of Foremost Human Right Activist and Social Crusader, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
The memorial attracted the crème de la crème of the civil society including some 2023 Presidential candidates such as Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC), Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), among others.
Falana who chaired the lecture regretted the ongoing debate over oil theft, saying simple technology which the government has acquired would have stopped the menace.
Daily Trust reports that the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali, rtd, had punctured the claim of 68m litres daily petroleum supply but the NNPCL had said it was ready for a forensic audit on the issue.
Speaking on the development, Falana said the government has refused to adopt modern technology in tracking the daily petrol supply in order to sustain the pilfering of the nation’s resources.
“We say it with profound respect that it is a shame that Nigeria is the oil producing country in the world that imports fuel and other petroleum products.
“Secondly, we want to say this publicly that the NNPC acquired a software seven years ago to monitor and track every tanker loading fuel in Nigeria and that software was installed with about 50 billion Naira.
“You are told that 400 barrels of crude oil are stolen daily in Nigeria. Nigeria is the only oil producing country that has refused to install a metre to know how much oil is produced daily. The government of smugglers has refused to install the necessary technology.
“Why the government has refused to be modern is this: if they install the technology, there won’t be stealing.
“So we are saying here today that the NNPC must disclose to Nigerians why the software acquired seven years ago has been disabled by the government so that tankers can take out fuel.
“Fuel is taken out by tankers not by Okadas. So you will need at least 2000 tankers to take out the quantity of fuel that they are saying is smuggled out of the country and that is not possible. We are also challenging the government to install the machine, the meter, that allows the government to know the quantity of fuel that is produced daily.
“There is an international shipping company. Every ship that takes fuel from anywhere in the world is monitored. The way our oil is stolen. The point of taking out oil, the ship is loaded and the criminal taking out the fuel will determine how many litres of fuel is being smuggled then collect money.
“Between January 2011 and Feb 2014, it was discovered that crude oil left Nigeria to Philadelphia port alone and not recorded in Nigeria was 62 million barrels valued at 12.7 billion Dollars. Your National Assembly people, including the people from Lagos, are not asking questions.
“So when we leave here, they must be sensible in each of their constituencies. You must ask questions why they are making this fraud. If we can start with Lagos, we can do that all over the country.”
Sowore extolled Gani Fawehinmi’s virtues, saying he stood for the Nigerian people in his lifetime.
“There are not enough people who have been standing up for the Nigerian people and it is not fair and honest.
“Gani is a man who dared the devil and is an inspiration to everybody who is a daredevil. When nobody could create a political party in this country, he created one in 1994 under military rule. “After a while he was betrayed. His NCP (National Conscience Party) has become something else. We do not have NCP anymore.
“Gani always stood for justice. In 1999 when the military was leaving, Gani told us that we can’t trust the military and we should just go and find something to do. That was how I left Nigeria. By 2003 when he decided to run for office, the thieves had consolidated their mode of power.
“Gani could not boast of any sizable electoral numbers. I am not here to justify the numbers because they have never held free and fair elections in this country before. If free and fair elections are there, there is no way I would not have defeated Buhari in 2019.”