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Ahmed Audi’s Alarm -By Kene Obiezu

According to Ahmed Audi, the commandant general of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), some operatives of the Corps deployed to secure oil assets have been found marching in lockstep with oil thieves.

The real thieves in Nigeria are not  those who languish in detention either awaiting trial for what the law describes as theft, or having been convicted, the course of legal proceedings having been exhausted. No. They  are not the real thieves. In Nigeria, the real thieves  are found much deeper and much farther in the system. From so deep and so far within, they continue to rip Nigeria off, leaving nothing but crumbs and scraps for petty thieves who are soon caught and incarcerated.

 If this was not clear enough, the barely believable scale of stealing affecting Nigeria`s oil production has continued to relentlessly highlight just how big the problem really is.

 It figures. That Nigeria is losing a whooping $40million dollars daily to oil thieves figures into the   fissures in the oil industry that have reduced the largest producer of oil and gas in Africa to a figure of fun.

 The size of the theft and the menace posed by the thieves was recently highlighted when the Nigerian Navy arrested a tanker full of foreign nationals that was suspected to be in the business of stealing Nigeria`s oil. When in April 2022,more than one hundred oil thieves were roasted beyond recognition when fire broke out at an illegal refinery in Abaezi, Imo State, the thievery of Nigeria`s oil  assumed a  tragic dimension.

 The government says it has a list of those whose hands are illegally dipped in Nigeria`s oil. While they may shrug off their actions as nothing more serious than getting a slice of the national cake in the free-for-all feast that Nigeria has become, Nigerians deserve to at least know those who are carrying out this economic heist against Nigeria.

 Before they are taken to courts of law, Nigerians deserve to have a fill of them in the court of public opinion. It is the least Nigerians can ask for in a country where everything continues to go south.

High-level involvement.

For all the talk about securing Nigeria`s oil facilities, keeping up production and subsequently securing oil wealth, syndicates have emerged all over the country and voraciously, they are feeding off the country`s considerable oil wealth.

 According to Ahmed Audi, the commandant general of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), some operatives of the Corps deployed to secure oil assets have been found marching in lockstep with oil thieves.

 He disclosed this during a strategic meeting with state commandants and Anti-vandal Squad leaders at NSCDC headquarters in Abuja.

 Indeed, it is beyond tragic that those who should be at the forefront of checking economic crimes and criminals in Nigeria are themselves deeply involved in something so gravely scandalous.

 It begs the question of just how quickly and effectively the menace of oil theft is in Nigeria. Nigeria finds itself in the difficult situation of having to stamp out a crime whose beneficiaries are influential and widespread. Experience has often shown that stopping those who   enable such crimes is always so difficult because of the number of people they have in their bottomless pockets at any point in time.

 For Nigeria to wriggle free of people like this, there is no doubt that many heads will have to roll. Whether those who should cause these heads to roll are not themselves involved in this scandalous business is an entirely different question.

 Kene Obiezu

Twitter: @kenobiezu

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