By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has been urged to publish the names of oil thieves “within 14 days” or be dragged before a court to compel it to carry out this action.
This is the demand of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), which expressed worry over the activities of persons suspected to be stealing crude oil belonging to Nigeria.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited recently said it discovered a 4-kilometre pipeline illegally installed for the purpose of siphoning crude oil for exports.
According to the NNPC, two illegal pipelines were used to steal the country’s oil wealth from Forcados Terminal and connected to the 48-inch Trans Forcados Export Trunk line.
In a letter dated October 15, 2022, SERAP called on Mr Buhari to “promptly set up a presidential panel of inquiry to thoroughly, impartially, and transparently investigate the operations of illegal oil pipelines from 2001 to date, and to widely publish the names of anyone suspected to be involved.”
The organisation further said the government must “ensure the prosecution by appropriate anti-corruption agencies of anyone suspected to be responsible for plundering the country’s oil wealth and the full recovery of any proceeds of crime.”
SERAP also urged him to “promptly authorise the investigation of reports of the destruction of an oil bunkering vessel by security agencies and to ensure that suspected owners of the vessel are identified, named, and brought to justice.”
In the letter signed by SERAP deputy director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, the group said: “Poor and socio-economically vulnerable Nigerians have continued to pay the price for stealing of the country’s oil wealth apparently by both state and non-state actors.”
“Your government has a legal obligation to ensure that the country’s oil wealth is used solely for the benefit of the Nigerian people, and that the wealth does not end up in private pockets, for the sake of the present and future generations,” SERAP said.
“SERAP is concerned that the illegal pipelines have been operated for many years without notice, implying a flagrant violation of constitutional and international obligations to ensure the proper, effective and efficient management of the country’s wealth and natural resources.
“It is in the public interest to promptly investigate the discovery of the illegal pipelines, publish the names of those suspected to be involved, and ensure that they are brought to justice, and that any proceeds of crime are fully recovered,” it stated.
“As the President and Minister of Petroleum Resources, you and your government have a legal responsibility to ensure accountability for these human rights crimes, and end the culture of impunity, which is fuelling the stealing of the country’s oil wealth.
“The proposed presidential panel of enquiry should be headed by a retired justice of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, and its members should include people with proven professional records and of the highest integrity that can act impartially, independently, and transparently,” the organisation said.
“The plundering of the country’s oil wealth has resulted in the downward trend in revenue and increasing level of borrowing, with reports of a projected N11.30 trillion deficit budget for 2023.”
“The discovery of the second illegal pipeline followed the recent destruction by security agents of a vessel allegedly used for crude oil theft off the Niger Delta creeks. About 58 illegal oil points have reportedly so far been discovered,” SERAP stated.
“According to a Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit report, 160 million barrels of crude oil valued at $13.7 billion was stolen in four years (2009-2012). There is also a report of $17 billion debt of under-declared crude oil lifted by some international oil companies (IOCs) between 2011 and 2014.”
“According to reports, Nigeria has seen increased oil theft in recent years. The country loses 470,000 barrels of crude oil monthly, amounting to $700 million to oil theft.”
“The country has reportedly lost $10 billion to crude oil theft in seven months, which is stated to be more than 50 per cent of Nigeria’s external reserves. The Chatham House, a think-tank based in the United Kingdom, has noted that oil theft in Nigeria is on an industrial scale,” it added.
Greater Lagos Vanguard Endorses Sanwo-Olu for 2nd Term
By Adedapo Adesanya
A grassroots political organisation, Greater Lagos Vanguard (GLV), has commended all adherents of democracy and good governance for trooping out in their thousands in solidarity with Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who flagged off his re-election bid for a second term in office in Lagos on Saturday, December 3.
The group has also lauded the Governor for “a successful first term tenure which has witnessed monumental development strides in various facet of governance and has endeared Mr Governor to the hearts of appreciative Lagosians who trooped out today in solidarity with him, which is an endorsement for his second term in office.”
In a statement jointly signed by its convener, Mr Nelson Ekujumi and its General Secretary, Mr Uche Nnadozie, the organisation stated that, “We feel proud and excited to proclaim that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has performed excellently well in his first time in office which is still ongoing, in line with the tradition of the excellent performance of good governance like his predecessors and the Lagos master plan of economic growth and development.”
According to GLV, Mr Sanwo-Olu has distinguished himself excellently well in the areas of governance, such as his outstanding role as the incident commander in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which earned him local and international accolades.
“The way and manner Governor Sanwo-Olu mobilised men and resources to confront the pandemic was a turning point and testament of his quality as a servant leader, who leads from the front, and it contributed in no small measure to the success recorded by Lagos State in particular and Nigeria in general and became a global reference point,” the statement read.
The group also mentioned the infrastructural development projects of the Governor like construction, reconstruction and renovation of health institutions, roads, 21st-century model schools, ICT, agricultural tools and implements for farmers, first and last-mile buses, empowerment of transportation and traffic agencies, emergency responders fire fighting trucks and equipment, vehicles, motorbikes, APC, walkie talkie, etc for the security agencies among several others.
While commending Mr Sanwo-Olu for a job well done in his first time, it promised to mobilise Lagosians to support, canvass and vote for him on election day based on the testimonials of what he has done.
SERAP Sues FG over Missing Ecological Funds
By Adedapo Adesanya
Following the expiry of an ultimatum given to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to probe the missing ecological funds at all levels, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the federal government.
Joined in the suit as respondents are the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha.
In a statement on Sunday, SERAP Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, specifically said the decision to file a lawsuit followed “the failure to probe the spending of trillions of ecological funds by governments at all levels—federal, state and local governments from 2001 to date, and to ensure the prosecution of suspected perpetrators of corruption and mismanagement of public funds.”
According to him, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently said that no fewer than 600 persons died, and 1.3 million were rendered homeless as a result of the floods that ravaged most states across the country, with the destruction of properties worth billions.
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/2283/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to promptly and thoroughly investigate the spending of Ecological Fund by governments at the Federal, state and local government levels from 2001 to date.”
The rights group also wants the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to ensure that suspected perpetrators of corruption and mismanagement of trillions of ecological funds are promptly brought to justice, and any missing public funds fully recovered.”
“The failure to probe the alleged missing trillions, prosecute suspected perpetrators and recover any missing public funds is a fundamental breach of constitutional and international legal obligations,” the statement partly read.
“Impunity for corruption in the management of Ecological Fund will continue as long as high-ranking public officials go largely unpunished for their alleged crimes.
“It is in the public interest to direct and compel President Buhari to probe these allegations so that evidence can be taken before the court and the truth about the spending of ecological funds revealed, and justice served,” it added.
The group alleged further that the federal government had violated the obligations to protect and uphold the human rights of those affected and to provide them with access to justice and effective remedies.
It argued that the government has the legal obligation to address the calamitous consequences of flooding for the human rights of millions of people and to prevent and address the consequences that climate change may reap on human rights.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
Firm Rewards Ibadan Traders for Sorting Waste to Ease Recycling
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Some traders in Bodija market, Ibadan, Oyo State, have been rewarded for segregating their waste to make it easier for recycling.
The beneficiaries were given gift items like Bluetooth headsets, customised simple chest bags, and customised face caps by the waste management consultant to the Oyo State government, Mottainai Recycling, on Friday through an initiative known as Recyclables for Rewards.
At the campaign, in its third year, two tonnes of recyclables were recovered by the company, which is managing waste collection in the state.
The Managing Director of Mottainai Recycling, Mr Adey Adewuyi, sensitised traders, buyers and passers-by in Bodija market and its environs on how the waste they generate could be a source of wealth.
Mr Adewuyi, represented by the firm’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Ms Deborah Fadeyi, urged the traders to embrace proper waste disposal and management habits like segregating their waste at source.
He further encouraged them to avoid dumping waste on the median, warning that those caught erring would be fined and punished according to law.
Also, the Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Environmental Matters, Mr Ademola Aderinto, explained that the initiative was aimed at creating awareness among traders and residents to segregate their waste at source and recover as much plastics before it enters into the water bodies and landfills.
He said that the event showcases the economic and social benefits of recycling, adding that “the event is aimed at making the good people of Oyo State see value in what they consider as waste.”
“These wastes would have otherwise ended up in landfills and water bodies which will contribute to the pollution of the environment,” he added.
Mr Aderinto discouraged the act of dumping waste on the median by the market men and women and also encouraged them to sort out their waste to ease the act of recycling, noting that the government will do more to eradicate the issue of improper waste disposal and management in the state.
“There was also an adequate and effective sensitisation and awareness campaign in the market on the need for proper waste management. They were also enlightened on the economic benefits of recycling instead of allowing their recyclables to end up on the median, water bodies or the landfills,” he said.
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