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At UK House of Commons, Amaechi Challenges Global Community to Help Fight Oil Theft

The Governor of Rivers State Rotimi Amaexhi has lamented how deepening corruption and bad politics is worsening the security and human rights situation in Nigeria.

Making his speechSpeaking on Thursday at a panel of the UK House of Commons on security and human rights challenges in the Niger, the Governor expressed concern about how oil theft issues currently bedeviling the nation can be linked to corruption. Noting that “Nigeria is currently loosing colossal amounts of revue to oil theft.”

He added that “as a state governor, I am very concerned because in the last few months, the monthly allocation to Rivers State has dropped from about 20 billion naira monthly to about 13 billion naira. One of the reasons given is the problem of oil theft. Today our state has a short of about 7 billion naira monthly which we should have committed to build more schools, more health centres, and complete several road and infrastructural projects that we have embarked upon already.”

Amaechi lamented further that “Security of oil installations and protecting our territorial waters, fall into the responsibility of the federal government. However as those who are directly affected by any action or inaction in this regard, we are concerned.”

He noted also that “the systematic hemorrhage on our economy and the direct impact on the poor citizens can no longer be ignored. The Nigerian government has asked the international community to provide them support to fight oil theft. However I must say that this intention must be demonstrated through political will.”

He explained that “two years ago, Rivers State Government got approval to purchase surveillance helicopters to fly around our territorial waters to provide real time monitoring of oil theft. We paid 30 million US dollars for those helicopters, and  up till today they have been prevented from coming into Nigeria. What could be their reasons?  We are now paying taxes on the equipment and the sellers are worried too.”

He also stated that “If we must get the support we desire to stop this economic sabotage that is now threatening our economy, we must demonstrate clear political will before all stakeholders.”

Amaechi also have strong words for the international community saying “on your part as an international community, you must scale up your partnership, not as bystanders but as stakeholders.”

Adding that “Oil does not just develop legs and walk into the international community. I must confess that I do not understand the details but however like in every trade, there must be buyers and sellers to complete the chain and you have a role to break that chain.”

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