Joseph Bakare/Ijeoma Agudosi
The United States of America has pledged to lend a hand to the Nigeria government in the fight against crude oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea.
US Congress team led by Republican Congressman Darell Issa, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari during a visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja made the word of honor.
Issa, a former chair of the House Oversight Committee in the US House of Representatives, assured President Buhari that the United States will also support Nigeria against Boko Haram by providing training, intelligence and military platforms.
“We look forward to helping you in many ways to end the Boko Haram insurgency and the theft of crude oil in the Gulf of Guinea,’’ he said.
Speaking during an audience with the congressmen, President Buhari disclosed that his administration has taken efforts to recover looted Nigerian funds a step further to include the identification of banks, financial institutions and countries in which payments for stolen Nigerian crude oil were deposited.
The President stressed the determination of his administration to root out corruption in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
He acknowledged the support and cooperation given his administration by the international community in gathering all required intelligence for tracing and recovering stolen national resources.
“We are getting cooperation from the international community, including information on ships that take crude oil from Nigeria and change direction, or pour their contents into other ships mid-stream.
“Some monies were paid to individual accounts. We are identifying the financial institutions and countries that are involved.
“I have been assured that when we get all our documents together, the United States and other countries will treat our case with sympathy,’’ the President told the Congressmen led by Rep. Darrel Issa.
President Buhari also told the Congressmen that his Administration will encourage more regular meetings of the Nigeria-United States Bi-National Commission.
He said the Commission could serve as a more useful platform for the promotion of bilateral trade and economic relations as well as joint cooperation in the war against terrorism.
President Buhari had at another fora disclosed that the US will help trace and recover funds from the sale of about 250,000 barrels of oil that are stolen each day in Africa’s biggest producer of the commodity.
The US and other developed nations are helping identify accounts where money has been deposited and Nigeria will prosecute the suspects, Buhari told an audience of Nigerians in Washington during his recent visit to the United States.