By Kingsley Okoye, Abuja.
The Senate has appealed to the judiciary to give expeditious consideration to cases involving suspected crude oil theft in the country.
The President of Senate, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, made the call at a meeting in Abuja on Monday with heads of security agencies in the country.
The meeting was a follow-up to the Aug. 3 engagement on the security situation in the country.
“While fighting insecurity in the country, sometimes, the armed forces capture bandits alive and those who have made every effort to steal our oil at an industrial scale, I’m sure some of them may not be lucky to escape.
“We want to see trials of people who are caught because when this happens, citizens will know that nobody, no matter how highly placed that person is, can go scot-free if he or she decides to get involved in this kind of criminal activity.
“Of course, I will appeal to our courts, the judiciary, once we have cases like this, we must give them expeditious consideration.
“Because these are the issues, which today are militating against our stability and even against our democracy,” he said.
Lawan noted that Nigeria had lost so much of its crude oil, saying that at the last count, reports showed that the nation exported just little above 900,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
“That is just about 50 per cent; it is supposed to be 1.8 million barrels per day, and that is halving our revenues and resources for development.
“I want to appeal to the judiciary to give a special consideration, once an oil thief is taken to court, we must prosecute them.
“It is not enough to just take away whatever they have stolen and say ‘go and sin no more’,” he said.
The senate president also commended the military and other security agencies for the current improved security situation in the country.
“We had engaged the security agencies in August.
“I am happy that after the meeting today, we have seen remarkable difference in the fight against insecurity in our country by our armed forces and we are very proud about that.
“We pray that this continues because you have started the initiative and it is for you to finish the job.
“When Mr President spoke of ensuring that we return to normalcy by December 2022, l am sure he had in mind what the armed forces have been doing recently.
“I believe the armed forces and other security agencies have everything, in terms of moral and determination but we still have to give them moral support,” Lawan said.
The meeting, which later went into a closed-door session, had in attendance all the Service Chiefs and the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, among others.