Journalism of Courage

In 2021, Nigeria loses $4bn to oil thieves, threat to nation’s corporate existence, economy — Elumelu

... calls for end to oil theft through what he called strategic leadership



Nigeria lost about $4 billion to oil thieves in the three quarters of 2021 and such funds are being use to procure illegal arms and ammunition, the Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Tony O. Elumelu, has disclosed.



Elumelu, who is also the Chair of Heirs Holdings Ltd and founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, said the economic sabotage pose a serious threat to the nation’s corporate existence and economy.



“Nigeria lost over $4 billion to oil thieves, people who don’t pay tax and they use it to buy illegal ammunition and pose a threat to our corporate existence.


“Theft in the Niger Delta is a national challenge. You produce sometimes 100 barrels a day and the thieves will take up to 50,000. 


“And to me, it requires a national seminar. It is, in my view, point one of the most nerve-racking threats to our country because it is so much money in the hands of people who don’t pay tax, people you don’t regulate,” the economist said.


He spoke while delivering a lecture entitled, “Strategic leadership: My business experience”, at Course 30 of the National Defence College, Abuja.


Persecondnews also quotes Elumelu as saying: “The country is not safe. They do that to us, they do that to other operators also. 


“This again demands strategic leadership. We need to deal with things like this. The lesson there is the resilience of leadership. 


“We don’t chicken out. Tough times don’t last, only tough people do. We can’t continue like this; our country must wake up.”


Elumelu said this can be achieved through strategic leadership as it is a catalyst to economic development for any nation.


He stressed that in both the private and public sectors, strategic leadership makes the big difference in outcomes, fulfilling goals, mission, vision and purpose.


Harping on the attributes necessary to actualize strategic leadership, Elumelu said setting priorities and goals with achievable timelines should be top on the list.


“Strategic leaders know effective communication/clarity of purpose.


“People don’t buy into a vision they don’t understand so you must define the purpose and break it down in order to mobilise all stakeholders in such a way that everyone in the chain understands, buys into this purpose and knows what role he or she is to play to contribute to the purpose and make it a reality.


“The more people who buy-in, understand the destination and how to get there, the more you are able to accomplish the purpose,” the UBA chair said.



“Strategic leaders learn and know how to mobilise resources. To execute your purpose, of utmost importance is resource provision: assembling human, financial, machinery, technology resources, etc. In my experience this is critical.”


Pointing out that his understanding of the importance of the people-factor in leadership has led to huge strides recorded in his businesses, he said the build-back initiative through the Tony Elumelu Foundation had provided seed capital for over 15,000 young entrepreneurs in 54 African countries.


Elumelu urged leaders to replicate their success in others and leave a legacy of good deeds.



He emphasized: “Strategic leadership is about replicating yourself as a leader. It is about training and developing others. Training and development make a lot of difference in the company environment.


“Strategic leadership is about infusing your DNA into the organisation. You must ensure that habits and cultures cascade from the top of the organisation all the way down. 


“This is formed by being firm, ensuring discipline is maintained across the organisation. Leaders must exhibit the values they expect to see from the people they oversee.


“People make some honest mistakes because they have not been trained properly.


“It is about mentoring your people. Leaders must take time out to mentor their people; it is crucial to help them and set them on the right path.


“It is important to share your knowledge and experiences with the aim of preventing your people from making the same mistakes you have.”




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