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SERAP urges Nigerian govt to publish names of suspects involved in oil theft



The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has implored the Federal Government to commence investigations into the operations of illegal oil pipelines from 2001 to date, and to widely publish the names of anyone suspected to be involved.

The letter from SERAP came in response to recent news that two illicit pipes connected to the 48-inch Trans Forcados Export Trunk line and used to steal the nation’s oil wealth from Forcados Terminal had been found.

In the open letter sent to President Muhammadu Buhari, dated 15 October 2022 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Poor and socio-economically vulnerable Nigerians have continued to pay the price for the stealing of the country’s oil wealth apparently by both state and non-state actors.

“Your government has a legal obligation to ensure that the country’s oil wealth is used solely for the benefit of the Nigerian people, and that the wealth does not end up in private pockets, for the sake of the present and future generations.”

Read also:El-Rufai brands SERAP a group of clowns for threatening Nigerian govt with lawsuit over oil theft

The organisation further decried the squandering of the oil wealth in clear violation of the government’s anti-corruption and human rights obligations.

As a result, it gave a two-week ultimatum before commencing legal proceedings over the matter.

The letter, read in part: “Despite the country’s substantial oil wealth, successive governments have largely squandered the opportunity to use the wealth to improve the lives and well-being of ordinary Nigerians. This is a clear violation of the government’s anti-corruption and human rights obligations.

“SERAP is concerned that the illegal pipelines have been operated for many years without notice, implying a flagrant violation of constitutional and international obligations to ensure the proper, effective and efficient management of the country’s wealth and natural resources.

“It is in the public interest to promptly investigate the discovery of the illegal pipelines, publish the names of those suspected to be involved, and ensure that they are brought to justice, and that any proceeds of crime are fully recovered.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”

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