The speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal has described the high incidents of crude oil diversion and pipeline vandalism as constituting a major threat to the economy. Speaking on behalf of Tambuwal, the chief whip of the house Ishaka Bawa said the diversion of crude oil; bunkering and vandalism of oil pipelines constitute a major leakage and economic sabotage to the nation.
He said in Nigeria, though crude oil has contributed largely to the economy, the revenue has not been used and accounted for. He made the assertion at the public hearing on the alleged diversion of studs creek marginal fields in Akwa Ibom by Universal Energy Resources Ltd by the house ad hoc committee chaired by Friday Itulah. Itulah said that the investigation was a result of petition by the youth development association of Mbo community which alleged the illegal diversion of crude by the Universal Oil.
The department of petroleum resources, DPR, had accused the Universal Energy Resources Ltd of diversion of crude oil.
Spokesman of Universal Oil Steve Okokoh denied the claims of DPR a he said that the DPR was represented at every level of the operations in the area. He said what the youths call crude oil is the mud they clear as a result of their operation. He said ‘on March 22 we planned to drill some wells and in doing so, we had to clear the well mud. That was what the youths called crude oil. Amadasun Enoesen of the DPR denied the claims of Okokoh and said DPR do not have records of approval granted to Universal oil to truck crude oil.
Ishaka Bawa expressed disappointment that the surrounding communities where oil wells are located are badly exploited by the exploration companies. He said some of these communities still suffer environmental degradation which leads to deprivation of means of livelihood and other economic and social problems.
The hearing was adjourned and the NSCDC in Akwa Ibom was asked to appear before the committee on or before Friday.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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