The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Timipre Sylva, has said that the country loses 400,000 barrels of crude daily via oil theft.
He spoke yesterday when he visited Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma in Owerri, the state capital.
Sylva described the development as a “national emergency”.
He regretted that the nation had fallen short of OPEC daily quota, from 1.8 million barrels to 1.4 million barrels, due to crude theft.
He warned that such a huge economic loss was capable of crippling the nation’s economy, if not given the seriousness it deserved.
He expressed concern that the menace had persisted, despite the efforts by the Federal and State Governments to arrest it.
Sylva said the problem of crude theft could not be handled in Abuja alone.
“It is a national emergency because the theft has grown wings and reached a very bad crescendo.
“This is because the thefts are taking place in the communities that host the oil pipelines.
“As a result, it has become necessary to involve the stakeholders, especially the host communities.
“And because of the height and orchestrated nature of the menace, Nigeria could not take the advantage and opportunities that abound in the gas production.
“This is because no investor would want to invest where there is incessant insecurit00esentatives of oil-producing communities in the state.