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Prosecute Oil Thieves, Senate Appeals to Military, Security Chiefs

The leadership of the senate on monday asked heads of military and security agencies in the country to start prosecuting suspected members of the public who are involved in oil theft. The upper chamber of the National Assembly also tasked the judiciary to grant accelerated hearing to matters on oil theft and other forms of economic sabotage. The president of the senate, Ahmad Lawan, stated this in his remarks before a closed session involving the principal officers of the red chamber and the military and security chiefs to review the progress made in the fight against insecurity in the country. The meeting was a follow-up to a similar one held early in August and it was presided over by Lawan. It was attended by the deputy Snate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, other principal officers of the senate and chairmen of Security Related Committees of the Senate. Also in attendance were the Chief of Defence Staff, the three Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police, Directors-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and the State Security Service (SSS). Others were the Commandant General of the National Security and Civic Defence Corps (NSCDC), while the acting Comptroller General of the Immigration Service was represented. Lawan lamented the massive theft of the nation’s crude oil and insisted that the development must be halted while the perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted immediately. He said: “those who have made every effort to steal our oil at an industrial scale, i’m sure some of them may not be that lucky to escape. “we want to see trials of people who are caught because when that happens, citizens will know that nobody, no matter how high that person is, can go scot free if he or she decides to get involved in this kind of criminal activities. Of course, I will appeal to our courts – Judiciary – once we have cases like this, we must give expeditious consideration, because these are the issues that, today, are militating against our stability and even against our democracy. “We lose so much of our oil. As at the last count, the report was that we export just little above 900,000 barrels. And that is just about 50 per cent because it is supposed to be 1.8 million barrels per day and that is halving our revenues and our resources for development.’So I want to appeal to the Judiciary to give a special consideration once a suspected oil thief is taking to court. We must prosecute them. It is not enough to just take away whatever they have stolen and say go and sin no more.” Lawan said the meeting was to review the earlier one held early in August meant to look into the security situation in the country. He expressed delight that the security situation in the country had improved tremendously after the August engagement with the Security and Mlitary Chiefs. According to him, “before we closed for our annual summer recess, distinguished senators and indeed, members of the National Assembly expressed so much concerns with respect to the security situation prevailing and we felt we must engage our Security Agencies so that together, we will continue to fight these challenges in our country.”I am happy and I’m sure I’m speaking the mind of my colleagues, that after that meeting, till today, we have seen remarkable difference in the fight against insecurity in our country by our armed forces and other security agencies and we are very proud of that. “We pray that this continue because we have seen the initiative and it is for us to finish the job. When Mr President spoke of ensuring that we return to normalcy by December 2022, I’m sure he had in mind what you have been doing recently.’I believe that you, our Armed Forces and other Security Agencies have everything in terms of the morals and determination, even though we still have to give some other support. This meeting therefore is to review what has happened so far. “While we fight the insecurity in the country, sometimes we capture bandits alive. Lawan also appealed to the Security Chiefs to take them (lawmakers) into confidence during the closed-door session. ‘We are responsible people. There are things that we know are very sensitive but some things are treated better when we are on the same page so that we also don’t legislate blind folded or without the necessary background information. “Where there are requests or requirements to enhance the capacity and the competence for armed forces and other security agencies, i think we should consider that as a priority as well.” Written by Sunday Aborishade Source: ThisDay Newspaper


written by sunday aborisadethisday newspaper

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