It said efforts at combating the menace locally were made more complicated by the international slant to the crime.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, stated this in a keynote address at the Powerlist 2014 programme in London.
Alison-Madueke, according to a statement from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Sunday, said the crime had continued to thwart efforts at sustained economic growth.
She was quoted as saying, “The grave phenomenon of oil theft and its global support system represent another face of terrorism counteracting efforts at sustaining the trajectory of our high-growth economy, the stability of our society and the enhancement and wellbeing of our people.”
According to her, the level of oil theft perpetrated in the country is way beyond the abilities of local residents in the areas where such crimes occur.
She said, “Theft of this magnitude is not only highly technical, it is also an international level crime. It is aided and abetted by syndicates outside of Africa, who are the patrons and merchant-partners of the oil thieves.
“This crime against Nigeria must be resisted as we simultaneously deploy in-country resources to fight it.”
Alison-Madueke said the effect of the oil theft scourge reverberated across the entire spectrum of the economy and called on the global community to strongly condemn the crime.
“It perpetuates criminality, defrauds economies and discourages investment. This is a crime that threatens not only Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, but also the security of the Gulf of Guinea, and by extension, the global economic order,” she said.
The minister, however, stated that the Nigerian oil and gas industry had been placed on the path of growth and progress.
Information from Punch was used in this report.