Stolen crude oil should be treated like blood diamonds by the international community

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Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua said on Monday in Hokkaido, Japan, that the Federal Government would soon present a proposal to the United Nations for urgent action to be taken by the international community to clampdown on the illicit trade in stolen crude oil.

Speaking at separate talks with the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Yasuo Fukuda and the President of the World Bank, Mr. Robert B. Zoellick on the margins of the Summit of the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations (G-8), President Yar’Adua said that stolen crude oil ought to be treated globally in the same manner as stolen diamonds.

“I appeal to you and through you to all other G8 leaders to support my new proposal which I will also discuss with UN Secretary General at my meeting with him, that stolen crude should be treated like stolen diamonds because they both generate blood money. Like what is now known as ‘blood diamond’, stolen crude also aids corruption and violence and can provoke war,” the President said.

A statement issued in Tokyo by Olusegun Adeniyi, Special Adviser to the President (Communications), quoted President Yar’Adua as saying in concern with ongoing efforts to holistically address the developmental challenges of the Niger Delta, his Administration was taking steps to “dismantle the criminal dimension” of the problem in the region, which was now being aggravated by some international cartels.

“The other aspect of the Niger Delta challenge is the criminal aspect, those who use the cover of militancy to steal our crude oil and engage in all forms of violence. We know how arms are brought in to support this criminality but we will tackle the menace together with the challenge of development,” President Yar’Adua declared.

Reiterating that his Administration attaches the highest priority to peace and security as a precondition for development, the President said the planned Summit of Niger Delta Stakeholders would provide “a platform where we will all agree on a programme of action” to redress the underdevelopment of the region.

“I believe we are on the verge of finding a permanent solution to the problem that has festered for decades.

“Right now, we are almost set for the Summit of Stakeholders that will form the bedrock of a permanent solution to the problem of political agitation. In the last one year, we have been having a series of discussions with the stakeholders so that the summit will provide the platform where we will all agree on a programme of action for development and that agreement would be binding on all the actors, ” President Yar’Adua.

The President also said that his Administration would soon announce the establishment of an Infrastructure Concessioning Commission to encourage private investment in the development of roads, railways, power plants and other critical infrastructure in all parts of Nigeria. Panapress .

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