How Incessant Oil Theft Is Contributing To Poverty And Hardship In Nigeria
It’s not often that you hear one of Nigeria’s most prominent billionaire entrepreneurs firing off a tweet, venting about the dire state of affairs in the country. They are more given to speaking in diplomatic terms. They are not expected to vent frustration publicly, but to get their views to the powers-that-be through the “usual channels.”
So imagine my shock waking up a few mornings ago to a series of tweets by Tony Elumelu, philanthropist, UBA chairman and founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation bemoaning the state of the nation.
In a series of tweets he wrote:
“This morning, I am listening to my colleagues at the office bemoan the very pressing issues that they face every day in this country, and how things have been getting worse and worse – no electricity for 5 days, hikes in the price of diesel, frightening food inflation, etc.
“How can a country so rich in natural resources have 90% of its citizens living in hardship and poverty? I have often said that access to electricity is critical for our development, alleviation of poverty and hardship. And speaking of security, our people are afraid!
“Businesses are suffering. How can we be losing over 95% of oil production to thieves?”
“Look at the Bonny Terminal that should be receiving over 200k barrels of crude oil daily, instead it receives less than 3,000 barrels, leading the operator @Shell to declare force majeure.”
Elumelu goes on to question why citizens and corporate organisations should be paying taxes if our security agencies can’t stop the theft. Truth is many who should be catching thieves are complicit in the thievery.
I am surprised that the mogul’s tweets didn’t generate more of a flap given their hard-hitting candour. I am just as shocked that the symbolism was lost on many. We are used to the masses moaning about Nigeria, but when billionaires join the chorus, then there’s fire on the mountain!.