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Oil Theft Goes Beyond Crisis Point In Nigeria

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A man works at an illegal oil refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria’s oil state of Bayelsa November 27, 2012. Thousands of people in Nigeria engage in a practice known locally as ‘oil bunkering’ – hacking into pipelines to steal crude then refining it or selling it abroad. The practice, which leaves oil spewing from pipelines for miles around, managed to lift around a fifth of Nigeria’s two million barrel a day production last year according to the finance ministry. Picture taken November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA – Tags: BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY INDUSTRIAL ENERGY) ATTENTION EDITORS – PICTURE 23OF 28 FOR PACKAGE ‘NIGERIA’S ILLEGAL OIL BUNKERERS’. SEARCH ‘OIL BUNKERING’ FOR ALL IMAGES – RTR3CGYO

A world-renowned institution revealed something about Nigeria this week that should be of great concern to every citizen, but the country was too preoccupied to notice or be worried. The zoning argument, combined with politicians’ sophistry and theatrics, had the public so interested that nothing else mattered. However, the apocalyptic categorization of Nigeria’s problems is far more important than the existing operations leading up to the 2023 elections. Just as bandit-terrorists have made life difficult for Nigerians, so have other types of bandit-terrorists, who have reduced the country to a state of near-insolvency. Who’d have guessed Nigeria’s oil sector would be so troubled that crude oil production is at an all-time low?

The worldwide mining and consultancy research organization Wood McKenzie said in a report titled “Nigeria Suffers Record Levels of Oil Theft” that the situation of crude oil theft in the country had gone beyond a crisis stage. “Oil thefts have gone beyond crisis point and are inhibiting investment in the onshore,” according to the report. Nigeria has long struggled with crude theft and sabotage, but the year 2021 saw unprecedented levels of theft. Nigeria’s capacity to ramp up output and take advantage of high prices is being hampered by thefts, as well as the closure of export terminals and pipelines. Onshore producers are focusing their efforts on securing present production rather than expanding it. This is a major missed opportunity.”

Nigerians must thus demand an end to the indiscriminate terrorism that is destroying the country’s economy. According to reports, the worth of crude oil stolen in Nigeria between 2016 and 2020 could be used to build at least 138 Type 3 primary health care centers in each of the country’s 774 local government areas. As a result, citizens must rise to the situation by pressuring the government to go all-out to stop the sabotage.

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