Independence Day: Presidential Candidates Harp On Nigeria Unity - Matrix Live Ng
Independence Day: Presidential Candidates Harp On Nigeria Unity
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Independence Day: Presidential Candidates Harp On Nigeria Unity

 

  • Nigeria Must Be Fixed, Presidential Candidates Reiterate
  • Experts Discuss How To Tackle Nigeria’s Crude Oil Theft Issue

As Nigeria celebrated her 62nd Independence Anniversary, the unity of Nigeria and how to address the myriad of challenges facing the country have been brought to the fore.

Leading presidential candidates on Saturday at different fora reiterated the need to fix the country.

The trio of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All-Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party made this known in separate statements.

According to Obi, many Nigerians are frustrated and tired of the many years of leadership failure.

He, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria has the hope of unfettered development, growth, greatness and dreams of infinite possibilities.

“We must rescue and turn our country around. It is our challenge and our duty…We are convinced that we can build the New Nigeria of our dreams.

“Fellow Nigerians, let us take back our nation from those who have perfected State Capture and build a better society for ourselves and our children. God bless you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the LP presidential candidate stated.

On his part, Atiku said, “The celebration of Nigeria’s Independence Day is a solemn reminder that we must fix the issues that continue to compromise our national unity. And when we do this, we would invariably fix issues that upset our peace and security and subsequently create an environment that can encourage economic prosperity.”

For APC presidential candidate, the 2022 Independence Day Anniversary is a time for all Nigerians to recommit themselves to unity.

“This anniversary of our independence offers us the opportunity to take stock of how far we have come as a nation and how far we must go to achieve a better nation.

“Let us commit ourselves to Nigeria’s unity as well as to our collective improvement. In unity, we must see each other as brothers and sisters regardless of our ethnic, religious or regional diversity,” the former governor of Lagos State noted.

In another development, the issue of crude oil theft was again brought to the fore with security experts opining that the issue would become a thing of the past when the government stamp out official complicity and bunkering, ensure transparency and accountability.

The security experts which include former Director, Army Peace Keeping, Maj-Gen Anthony Atolagbe; Security Management and Intelligence Expert, Kabiru Adamu; and Security Risk Consultant, Tanwa Ashiru spoke during Channels Forum, a special programme to celebrate Nigeria’s 62nd Anniversary Day Celebration.

Adamu opined that security agencies tasked with the onus of protecting Nigeria’s maritime border must be held responsible for the grand larceny of Nigeria’s resources.

“We need to hold the security department in that region that has the responsibility accountable,” he said referring to the southern part of Nigeria where crude oil theft has become ubiquitous in the creeks dotting the region, especially in the oil-rich Niger-Delta area in the South-South geopolitical zone.

“It is unfathomable for me to wake up and see that we have given that responsibility to a private individual,” Adamu said, condemning a pipeline protection contract award by the Federal Government to a company that a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, has interest in.

Continuing, Adamu said, “This matter is of such significance to our national existence, to our economy and yet we are allowing it continue. Frankly, it is ridiculous, the quantity we are discussing are not quantities you put in a drum or even in a tanker; we are talking of quantities that are moved at such levels that it is embarrassing for me as a Nigerian to discuss with the international community.”

Also, Atolagbe described crude oil theft as a socio-political problem caused by factors including price variation. “What is happening now is that first the aspect has been brought to light. Then, it means something urgent needs to be done about it…Now that it has come to the knowledge of everybody that things of this nature is going on, I am sure government is going to do something.”

About 108,000 barrels of crude are reportedly stolen daily in Nigeria. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries which Nigeria is a member estimates that the country lost 2.3 million barrels in July 2022 alone and 28 million barrels in total from January to July this year. The regulator said Nigeria lost $1 billion to crude theft in first quarter of 2022.

Atolagbe therefore advised the Federal Government to visit a report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative which outlined some steps to end the economic and environmental menace of crude oil theft.

“There is a NEITI report sometimes before this government came in which spelt out how to end COT (crude oil theft). Perhaps if something can be done, if they can lay hands on this kind of document. They wrote about how each litre that is coming out of this country is accounted for. If we can key into some of these areas, we may not be able to stop everything in an absolute manner but perhaps to some reasonable extent we will get some good results on the steps that have been taken,” he said.

On her part, Ashiru told a story of how illegal miners in a part of Nigeria paid state actors N500,000 each as protect fee to protect them whilst they engage in the criminal act.

“I can take this exact scenario and plug in the Niger Delta, in the areas that have illegal bunkering. If you are flying an helicopter, with aerial access, there is no way you can miss where this illegal bunkering is taking place.”

Until we check official complicity, we are going to have issues with our resources, she submitted.

 

 

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