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Nigerian Army, the economic saboteurs behind the massive Crude oil theft in the Niger Delta leaving people in dilemma.

Niger Delta states sabotage and theft through oil siphoning has become a major issue.

The majority of Nigeria’s 160 million citizens live in poverty – despite being residents of Africa’s biggest oil producer, but sabotage and theft through oil siphoning has become a major issue in the Niger  Delta states as well, contributing to further environmental degradation. Damaged lines may go unnoticed for days, and repair of the damaged pipes takes even longer.

Oil thieves bleed Niger Delta

A Niger Delta activist, Asari Dokubo, has said that some personnel of the Nigerian Army and Navy were responsible for oil theft in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Nigeria has recorded an increase in the rate of oil theft in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. In September 2022, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited said that the country lost 470,000 barrels of crude oil monthly amounting to $700 million to oil theft.

The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), said the government was committed to addressing the issue of oil theft with a comprehensive approach, adding that crude oil theft is arguably the biggest issue in Nigeria.

Dokubo: Military knows those behind oil theft in Niger Delta

Asari-Dokubo activist against oil theft in Niger Delta

Speaking with reporters after meeting with the Nigerian President Bola Tinubu on Friday, Dokubo alleged that the army and navy intimidate personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who are supposed to protect oil pipelines. However, they are the ones stealing the oil which is supposed to be beneficial to the people.

The activist described the theft of oil as a “crime against humanity” because the livelihoods of the people in the region have been destroyed. “They receive a lot of money from NNPC, PCL and the IOCs and just across the corner, you will see a houseboat a few meters from the houseboat, you will see an oil bunkering refinery or tapping directly from oil well ends. It is very pathetic now. What is happening in the Niger Delta in the past eight years was unprecedented in the history of oil production anywhere in the world,” he said.

He volunteered to help, to assist and to do the things that are necessary to put a stop to the evil that is being perpetrated against the people of the Niger Delta, the oil community and the whole of Nigerians.

In Delta state, thieves built their own 4km- (2.5 mile) long pipeline through the heavily guarded creeks to the Atlantic Ocean. There, barges and vessels blatantly loaded the stolen oil from a 24-foot rig visible from miles on the open waters and it is professional job. Much of the oil is stolen from precisely those areas where there are army and navy checkpoints.

Pipelines used to steal oil in the Niger Delta

Crude oil is Nigeria’s main export but production, and revenue, has been dwindling for years because of thieves, authorities say. Nigeria’s oil industry has a documented history of corruption, from an unending fuel subsidy scheme where no-one actually knows how much is imported, to the shadowy allotment of oil exploration blocks.  Many of the security people are involved because there is no way you can load a vessel without settling (bribing) the security people in that region.

However, it is not the first time Nigeria’s security agencies, especially the top brass of the army and navy, are being fingered over oil theft. In January, Nyesom Wike, the governor of neighboring Rivers state, said a police superintendent was involved in oil theft in the Emuoha area of the state and wanted him kicked out. In 2019, Mr Wike also accused a high-ranking army commander of engaging in massive oil theft in the state, which was vehemently denied.

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