Senate President Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, raised the alarm about the rate of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta, saying it is pushing the economy into a coma. Lawan stated this at the senate plenary while welcoming his colleagues back from their two-month annual recess.
The senate president stressed the need for improvement in the country’s revenue earnings. He warned that unless prompt action was taken to stop crude oil theft, the development might stagnate the economy.
Lawan said, “The economy of our country is still challenged. The Senate, working with the House of Representatives and the executive, needs to continually seek for better responses to the economic situation.
“Generation and collection of revenues have remained major challenges. Also, the massive loss of revenue through oil theft is debilitating and threatening to throw the economy into a coma.
“Revelations about the scale of oil theft shows that until government takes decisive actions, Nigeria could soon lose any revenue from that sector.
“We must, therefore, work to ensure that everything is done to curtail this theft.”
Lawan recalled that the senate had during the recess showed serious concerns about the security situation in the country. He said the red chamber had two engagements with the National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, service chiefs, Inspector General of Police, Director General of Department of State Services, Director General of Nigerian Intelligence Agency, and other heads of security agencies.
“From the assessment of the prevailing situation, our security agencies are recording more successes and the situation seems to be improving,” he stated.
The senate president noted that the upper chamber would continue to engage defence and security agencies through appropriate committees to ensure that the follow-up engagements were sustained.
On the 2023 general election, Lawan expressed the willingness of the National Assembly to ensure transparent and credible elections next year. He noted that the innovative amendment to the Electoral Act by the National Assembly provided the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the wherewithal to deliver on a successful general election in 2023.
Lawan said, “The year 2023 is a momentous period for Nigeria, as elections will be held across the country. Nigerians are expected to exercise their franchise.
“Therefore, the senate, indeed the National Assembly, will work with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure very successful, transparent, and credible elections.
“We are ready to support INEC in all possible ways as a legislature. Already, the timely amendment of the Electoral Act 2022 has provided very important innovations in ensuring better electoral climate.”