A former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission Ndutimi Alaibe, has revealed that no fewer than nine million barrels of crude oil was stolen in the Niger Delta in 2022 alone.
He gave the startling picture of things in a speech at a Two-Day Board and Management Retreat of the NDDC.
According to Alaibe at the retreat in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, crude oil theft had grown from 103,000 barrels per day in 2021 to an average of 108,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2022 alone, adding that the figure must have gone up
He said Nigeria is presently facing “crushing challenges of sabotage through sophisticated thievery of crude oil”.
He added that the significant environmental damage from oil spills, habitat destruction, and contamination of waterways, farmlands and fisheries, undermining food security and livelihoods for millions of people in the region can better be imagined with such levels of oil theft.
He explained that rampant oil spills and theft in the Niger Delta have severe environmental implications, including pollution, habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity.
He observed that lack of equitable distribution of wealth generated from oil resources has often exacerbated tensions and contributed to feelings of alienation and disenfranchisement among local populations.
However, Alaibe noted that addressing these challenges was crucial for sustainable development and the well-being of local communities and ecosystems.
The former Managing Director of the NDDC stressed that sustainable development represented the pathway to the future.
He said: “Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta environment is something that should not be compromised because of the damage to our ecosystem, environment and sociopolitical survival and sustainability.
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“By adopting sustainable practices in our daily lives and supporting policies that prioritise the environment, we can contribute to a more balanced and harmonious world.”
Alaibe emphasised the need to have a plan to serve the purpose of the Niger Delta people as well as the need for a Renewed Framework so that no one was left behind.
He also called for an urgent review of the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan.