Nigeria Loses $7billion Yearly To Oil Theft
By Akanimo Sampson - Port
AT a price regime of between 45 and 50 US dollars,Nigeria is suspected to be losing seven billion dollars, about 900billion naira in the local currency yearly,to oil theft.This theft is widely known in the country, as illegal oil bunkering.
POLITICAL leaders of the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s principal oil and gas producing region, have underscored the need for urgent logistic support to he security agencies to combat the menace of illegal oil bunkering.
For them, by its costly, high-skilled ad elitist nature, illegal oil bunkering is beyond the ordinary peoples of the Niger Delta.
Bayelsa State governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and his Delta State counterpart, Chief James Ibori, have always maintained that illegal oil bunkering is being perpetrated and legitimised by highly placed and well-connected individuals from outside the Niger Delta.
Security reports however, have it that the Federal Government was losing 400,000 to 500,000 barrels of oil per day to illegal bunkering. Some oil worker in the region have put the value of this to over N900 billion a year.
A Special Presidential Security Committee, that was chaired by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Alexander Ogomudia, had earlier reported that a “Cartel or mafia” was behind the flourishing illegal oil bunkering.
According to their report which has remained largely unpublished, the oil mafia is composed of highly placed and powerful individuals within the society, who run a network of agents to steal crude oil and finished produce from pipelines in the Niger Delta region.
The report claimed that many of the militant youth groups “could be enjoying the patronage of some retired or serving military and security personnel”.
Apparently acting on the Ogomudia security report, the Nigerian Navy is already poised to combat the thriving illegal oil bunkering network. The commanding officer of NNS Pathfinder, captain Peter Esemo Oraka, has said that the navy was determined to fight illegal oil bunkering activities along the country’s waterways.
He said the navy has been an active participant in nation building, national security and in the fight against illegal activities.
Going by the seeming complex nature of the oil mafia, leaders of the Niger Delta have counsel Abuja to provide adequate logistic support for the security agencies to crush the cartel.
They have also decried the absence of peace in the Niger Delta. They however, attributed it to the poor infrastructural development in the region in spite of the region’s enormous contribution to the national wealth.