Pastor Adeboye’s claim about Nigerian oil theft is false — fact checkers

Enoch Adeboye, the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), has claimed the government confirmed that 80 per cent of Nigeria’s oil production is lost to theft.

Speaking on Sunday while delivering a sermon during the monthly thanksgiving service of the church, the cleric said 90 per cent of oil revenue is used to service debt in Nigeria.

“More than 80 per cent of all the oil we are producing is been stolen and nobody has denied it, it came from the government,” Adeboye said.

“Who is the one stealing the oil? Where is the money going to? 80 per cent of what should have been the income of a nation is going into the hands of some people. What do they want to do with the money? Who are the foreign nations buying this stolen oil? How many of these nations of the world are your friends? 

“More than 90 per cent of our income from the leftover of the oil that was stolen, we are using it to pay the interest of the money we have already borrowed and then, it is news. I am sure you listened to the news. We are borrowing more.”

Recently, figures have been churned out on the level of oil theft in the country. 

Last month, Tony Elumelu, chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, had claimed 95 per cent of oil production is lost to oil thieves. 

“Businesses are suffering. How can we be losing over 95% of oil production to thieves,” he queried.

In another submission, Austin Avuru, former chief executive officer of Seplat Energy Plc, had also said 80 per cent of Nigeria’s oil output in certain oilfields is lost to oil theft.


According to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Nigeria lost more than 115,000 barrels per day (bpd) to oil theft and vandalism between January 2021 and February 2022, which amounts to $3.27 billion worth of crude oil.

By implication, the country lost about 7.6 per cent of the current 1.5 million barrels of crude produced per day on average.

Furthermore, if 80 per cent of Nigeria’s crude oil is stolen as claimed by the cleric, that means we produce about 300,000 bpd, whereas regulators put the daily output at 1.5 million.

The NUPRC recently expressed worry over the “crude loss figures recently being quoted in the media by some operators, given actions taken so far on the issue.”

The NUPRC had said it established a panel to audit the activities of operators in the upstream sector to ascertain the actual volume of oil lost to theft. 

“To ascertain the veracity of these claims, the Commission has activated all the necessary mechanisms to get to the root of the matter and establish the actual volume of crude stolen as against the volumes claimed,” the commission had said. 


The claim that the government has backed the assertion that 80 per cent of  Nigeria’s oil production is lost to oil theft is FALSE.

Based on the regulator’s record, only 7.6 per cent of crude oil is lost to theft.


According to Adeboye, more than 90 per cent of Nigeria’s oil revenue is being used to service the country’s debt. 

In 2020, out of the federal government’s total revenue of N3.42 trillion, N3.34 trillion was used for debt servicing.

By implication, for every N100 earned as revenue, N97 was spent on debt servicing during the period under review.

According to Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, the federal government spent N4.2 trillion on debt servicing between January and November 2021. The figure amounts to 76.2 per cent of the N5.51 trillion generated for the period.

Also, records from the budget office show that the total revenue inflow of the federal government stood at N3.49 trillion in the first three quarters of 2021, while N3.42 trillion was used to service debts. This means that debt service to revenue represented 97.9 per cent for the period under review.


The claim that over 90 per cent of the federal government’s revenue is used to repay debt is TRUE.

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