By Emmanuel Addeh
Several ethnic youth leaders, including the Arewa Consultative Youth Movement, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Youth Movement, Niger Delta Youth Council, Oduduwa Youths and Middle Belt Youth Council, have called for sanctions for any organisation sabotaging the country through the diversion of crude oil.
Speaking during a press conference in Abuja yesterday, members of the Council of Ethnic Youth Leaders of Nigeria, specifically demanded that the federal government should sanction Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Limited and its sister companies in Nigeria, for its complicity in the alleged diversion of 16 million barrels of crude oil.
They noted that the breach occurred at the Bonny Oil Terminal through the use of a manipulated and unapproved metering system, thereby understating the volume of crude oil which was pumped to the terminal.
Some of those present at the event were Capt. Bassey Henshaw, National President of the Niger Delta Youth Council; Mr. Kabir Yusuf of the Arewa Consultative Youth Movement, Oluwadamilola Opeodu of Oduduwa Youths and Godwin Meliga of the Middle Belt Youth Council.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had earlier waded into the matter, with Shell committing to refund about 2.1 million barrels of crude to some local oil companies including Belema Oil, Newcross, AITEO and Eroton.
Also, the group noted that an originating summons had been filed in the Federal High Court by them through the Patriotic Youth Organisation of Nigeria against the federal government and all the sister Shell companies praying the court to order the federal government to expropriate, nationalise and take over all assets of the oil giant.
The group, which pledged their total support to the President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic agenda and anti-corruption stand also commended the Director of the DPR, Mr. Sarki Auwalu for insisting that the right thing must be done by all companies operating in Nigeria’s oil sector.
President middle belts youth council, Meliga, who read the speech on behalf of the council, further explained that since crude oil is the major source of revenue and foreign exchange, anything that affects the sector negatively affects the entire economy.
He stated that when revenue drops, government will be unable to execute the projects in the budget, saying that this ultimately reflects in the state of the nation as government will be unable to discharge its function and responsibilities to the citizens.
“The foregoing action of Shell misdirected the federal government of Nigeria into expending scarce resources in monitoring and combating pipeline vandalism and oil theft, without knowing that Shell is responsible for the decline in crude oil revenue by its action of using unapproved metering system. This obviously is a threat and indeed a breach of national security.
“We affirm our belief in the economic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government and believe that a major key to the success of this government is that acts of economic sabotage must be blocked. This will enable President Buhari to increase revenue and have the funds to deliver on the numerous infrastructure and developmental projects it has embarked upon and complete all his legacy projects.
“We have also written to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the United States Security and Exchange Commission and other regulatory bodies to take urgent and necessary actions against Shell, its Officers and other collaborators, ” the coalition stated.