The Nigerian Navy has revealed that the country loses an estimated N433 billion annually to crude oil theft due to poor law enforcement presence in the waterways.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, made the disclosure in Abuja, when he defended its 2015 budget proposal before the Senate Committee on Navy.
Jibrin, represented by the Chief of Logistics, Peter Agba, credited the statistics to a recent revelation made by Chatham House, London.
He said the statistics did not include the amount of oil suspected to have been stolen from export pipelines, cost of oil spillage cleanup, loss of income to fishing communities and environmental degradation.
“The Nigerian Navy is constitutionally tasked with the protection of our maritime assets and recently the Chatham House revealed that Nigerian crude oil is being stolen at an industrial scale.
It conservatively estimates that about 100,000 barrel per day, valued at N1.18 billion is stolen daily due to poor law enforcement presence, which is translated to N433.62 billion annually,’’ he said.
Jubrin attributed the inability of the Navy to curb criminality in the nation’s waters to lack of adequate funding, and called for better funding of the service.
He said going by the 2015 overhead cost proposal of seven billion Naira, the service would find it difficult to maintain sufficient presence on the nation’s waters.
He said the Navy required N205 billion as capital budget for 2015 but based on the envelope system, it submitted only a capital budget of eight billion naira.
Jubrin said that this represented 96 percent reduction.
“The Nigerian Navy appreciates the financial constraints of the Federal Government but wishes to point out the importance and economic benefits of an improved funding.
The Nigerian Navy, therefore, in the nearest future will be craving the indulgence of the National Assembly to make its capital asset acquisition a first line charge to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
We are also making a case for the establishment of a Naval Trust Fund to enhance our operations,’’ he said.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Chris Anyanwu (PDP-Imo East), expressed concern over the statistics issued by Chatham House on the rate of annual crude oil theft in Nigeria.
Anyanwu stressed the need for better funding for the Navy to enable it curb the increased level of crude oil theft.
“What country can lose this kind of asset and still stay whole? That explains what is really happening in the country today.
In view of the huge loss of crude oil, I agree with the Navy in the argument that expenditure in the Navy should be seen as an economic expenditure,’’ he said.
She further commended the effort of the Navy in living up to its mandate in spite of poor funding.
“I see the statistics of what you have been doing in terms of seizures. You seized 84 vessels and 155 oil thieves were arrested.
That is something significant and I want to applaud the current leadership for his effort,’’ she said.
She said that there was need for the next National Assembly to establish a Trust Fund for the Navy to enable it discharge its duties effectively.