UN: Nigeria Lost $2.8bn to Oil-related Crimes in 2018

1

•President has enormous powers in PIGB, analysts insist

Ejiofor Alike and Chineme Okafor in Abuja with agency reports

A new report released in New York by the United Nations Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) has revealed that Nigeria lost an estimated $2.8 billion in revenues in 2018, mainly due to crude oil-related crimes.

This is coming as Analysts at Agusto & Co, a credit rating and research company, have said that despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) which the National Assembly passed in 2018, the reform bill still gave a lot of powers or influence to the President of Nigeria.

The UN report, which covered from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, said “Maritime crime and piracy off the coast of West Africa continued to pose a threat to peace, security and development in the region.

“Oil-related crimes resulted in the loss of nearly 2.8 billion dollars in revenues last year in Nigeria, according to government figures.
“Between January 1 and November 23, there were 82 reported incidents of maritime crime and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.’’

The report also noted that compared to the situation reflected in the previous report, there was an increase in drug trafficking throughout West Africa and the Sahel.
“In Benin, the Gambia and Nigeria, more than 50 kilogrammes of cocaine were seized between July and October by joint airport interdiction task forces.

“During the same period, joint airport interdiction task forces seized more than six kilogrammes of methamphetamines, eight kilogramme of heroin (double the amount in the first half of 2018) and 2.6 tonnes of cannabis.

“Drug production across the region was also reportedly on the rise, with more than 100 kilogrammes of ephedrine and phenacetin seized by competent authorities,’’ the report said.

During the reporting period, it said that conflicts between farmers and herders resulted in loss of lives, destruction of livelihoods and property, population displacements and human rights violations and abuses.

The report said outbreaks of violence were recorded in many states across Nigeria, although with more frequency in the Middle Belt region, as well as Adamawa and Taraba States.

It said the spike in conflict between farmers and herders was closely linked with demographic pressures, desertification and the attendant loss of grazing reserves and transhumance routes, which had been exacerbated by climate change.

Others were challenges in the implementation of effective land management and climate change adaptation policies, and limited enforcement of existing pastoral laws.

Political and economic interests, the erosion of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, and weapons proliferation, were other factors attributed to the increased cases of herders-farmers conflict.

PIGB Gives Enormous Powers to Buhari, Analysts Insist

Meanwhile, analysts at Agusto & Co – a credit rating and research company, have said that despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which the National Assembly passed in 2018, the PIGB still gives a lot of powers or influence to the President of Nigeria.

In a report on the operations of Nigeria’s upstream oil and gas industry in 2018, the analysts said they were worried that the PIGB Buhari turned down on constitutional and legal grounds still allowed the Nigerian president unchallenged powers.

According to the analysts, the president has powers to suspend or remove any member of the board of the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission, which will replace the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) without the approval of the National Assembly.
They also argued that the omission of the tenure of office of Managing Directors and Executive Directors for both the Nigeria Petroleum Assets Management Company (NPAMC) and the National Petroleum Company (NPC) – two new entities to be created under the PIGB, was worrisome, and requested that these be rectified in a review of the bill.

The analysts stated they were confident the other parts of larger Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which border on fiscal, administrative and host community issues would be revisited after the general elections, adding that despite Buhari’s dissing of the PIGB, its eventual enactment was expected.

The report stated that: “After so many failed attempts at passing a comprehensive PIB, the National Assembly decided to split the original bill into several parts to aid easier passage. The National Assembly passed the first leg of the PIB, known as the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) in the first quarter of 2018.

The PIGB is intended to create, amongst other things, efficient and effective governing institutions with unambiguous and separate roles as well as provide the requisite framework for the establishment of commercially-oriented and profit-driven entities for the Industry. We believe the other parts of the bill which border on fiscal, administrative and host community issues will be passed after the conclusion of the 2019 general elections.”