Varsity Don Attributes Oil Theft To Politicians | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Varsity Don Attributes Oil Theft To Politicians

Posted: Nov 10, 2015 at 11:31 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Daniel Abia

Port Harcourt

Nigerian politicians especially those in the corridors of powers have been blamed for the continued thriving of oil theft in the country especially in the oil and gas producing region.

Venting his spleen on the continued sharp practice which has led to the downfall in overall capacity of oil production per day, Dr. Sofiri Peterside of the University of Port Harcourt made this known in an address at the 8th Annual National Environmental Congress, organised by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of The Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN).

The congress, which held in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, took place in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Monday.

Speaking on the topic, “The Age of Fossil Fuels and the Emerging Quest for Sustainable Energy Model of Development”, the university don said that illegal oil bunkering was a thriving business because of the activities of some people in public offices across the country.

He said, while there was more focus on small-scale oil theft, little or no attention was being paid to the larger activities of politicians who were stealing the nation’s oil, using big ships.

Peterside alleged that the executive oil thefts were causing more economic and environmental damages and asked, “Who are the owners of the big ships?; Why are the security agencies turning a blind eye and allowing the business to continue?”

Peterside said that oil pollution in the Niger Delta area rated among the worst in the whole world, adding that the crisis was due to the fact there was a gap between the law protecting the environment and what was in operation in the area.

In his welcome address, Executive Director, ERA/FoEN, Dr Godwin Ojo, said that the conference unfortunately came into being, 20 years after Saro-Wiwa’s death to discuss the issues for which he was hanged.

He said that the theme of the congress, “Extractive and Energy Transition: Roadmap for Zero-Carbon Development”, had relevance to the efforts at shaping a new world in energy production and consumption patterns.

According to him, the Congress sought to affirm the urgent need for a global shift from fossil fuel-dependency to renewable sources of energy as a means to curb climate change and its catastrophic impact.

He gave examples of other countries of the world that were moving away from fuel-dependency and said, “Nigeria must not be caught napping in the new energy revolution that is underway…

“Indeed, science alerts us to the catastrophic impacts of climate change due to carbon emissions into the atmosphere, leading to rising global temperature and extreme weather patterns.”

Ojo raised the alarm over the pervading environmental degradation across the country and said the situation was a matter of national urgency.

He said that the rural people becoming more impoverished as, “nationwide, ecological devastation and pressure on livelihood sources are traced to the root of conflicts.

“Since oil extraction had destroyed rural livelihoods in the Niger Delta, desertification has wrecked similar havoc in the North, just as the West is also faced with deforestation and the East ravaged by gully erosion.”