Tinubu Urged To Ignore NNPCL Claims Of Oil Theft In Niger Delta

A group, the Movement for Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta (MSDND) has cautioned President Bola Tinubu over the recent claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and the group managing director, Mr Mele Kyari, of rising cases of illegal pipeline connections and refineries in the Niger Delta region.

According to the group, the outburst of the NNPCL and Mr Mele Kyari is not consistent with what is on the ground in the Niger Delta region. It is a false battle cry meant to deceive and distract Tinubu and the Nigerian public.

It said the NNPCL and Kyari had in a press statement claimed to have uncovered 38 illegal pipeline connections and 108 illegal refineries between June 22 and June 28 and that they also claimed that the war on crude oil theft is in full swing, and that the NNPCL‘s collaborations with security agencies continue to record remarkable progress.

But MSDND, in a statement via electronic mail and signed by its publicity secretary, Kelvin Orughoe, accused the NNPCL and Kyari of being desperate to hoodwink Tinubu and Nigerians with non-existent facts and pure lies which tag the millions of persons in the Niger Delta region as thieves.

Orughoe also argued that the NNPCL‘s claim is based on an old playbook used to deceive Nigerians every year for the past eight years. He said the same fraudulent scheme was used to deceive former President Muhammadu Buhari into agreeing to the non-remittance of billions of dollars from crude oil sales into federal government coffers for over seven months.

He said, “We are writing to President Bola Tinubu not to be deceived by the false battle cry by the NNPCL using non-existence numbers of illegal refineries and the so-called massive oil theft activities in the creeks of the Niger Delta.

These NNPCL acclaimed sites of 38 illegal pipeline connections and 108 illegal refineries do not exist in the creeks of the Niger Delta region.

„President Tinubu should take a second look at the numbers presented by the NNPCL and Mr. Mele Kyari because these are falsified numbers that don‘t exist. If these numbers of illegal bunkering and illegal refining sites exist, how then do the people in the Niger Delta region breathe? Instead of presenting false figures, Mele Kyari and his cohorts in the NNPCL should tell Nigerians the truth about where the real leakages of Nigeria‘s crude oil exist.“

Orughoe challenged the NNPCL and Kyari to provide Tinubu and Nigerians with the details of the $1.9 billion monthly loss claim made in Asaba, Delta State, in 2021 during a meeting with former Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. „Instead, they have resorted to the old tricks in their playbook to deceive Nigerians and not make returns to the Federal Government,“ he said.

He alleged inconsistency in their facts, stressing that they twist facts at their whim and caprices.

Recent OPEC data exposes that Nigeria‘s crude oil production has dipped to 1.25 million barrels per day, including condensate.

„But when you remove condensate, the nation‘s crude oil production is about one million barrels per day, down from two million barrels per day when Kyari was appointed NNPC GMD. Why is it that it was when Kyari was appointed that our nation‘s crude oil production started going down drastically, given the fact that these are the most peaceful periods in the Niger Delta region?“ he queried.

Orughoe continued, „Now, we are in 2024. They are still using the same distortion of facts and their old playbook. They know where the leakages are coming from. How can they wake up after the spirited efforts of the Nigerian Navy, other security agencies, and other partners to present such data? How can the nation‘s crude suddenly drop from its rising height to a disgraceful one million barrels per day?“

He said the NNPCL and Kyari should be investigated over the $1.2 billion loan procured in 2021 to revamp the Port Harcourt Refinery.

He said, „The Port Harcourt Refinery is still not working after receiving a $1.2 billion loan since 2021. Where is the money? Also, under the current leadership of NNPCL GMD, billions of dollars in loans were procured to revamp the Kaduna refinery and other refineries across the country. Where are the billions of dollars or the functioning refineries? Rather, we have been seeing and hearing doctored figures and lies from the NNPCL for over eight years while Nigerians buy fuel at about N700 per litre.

„Recently, between January and March 2024, OPEC data showed that the nation‘s crude oil production decreased, and Nigeria lost over $3 billion within three months. If such money is stolen in the Niger Delta region, as claimed by the NNPCL, Nigerians would notice or see the money in the lives of the Niger Delta people. Instead, hardship and abject poverty are what is being experienced across the Niger Delta.


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