Oil bunkering in the Niger Delta, has been a perennial problem. The country is to have lost oil estimated at $10.9 billion or about 136 million barrels to crude oil thieves. Also 10 billion barrels of oil valued at $894 million have been lost to pipeline vandalised in the downstream sector.
This represents 7.7 per cent of total revenue that accrued to the country within the period to crude oil thieves. Being heavily dependent on crude oil for its foreign exchange earnings, the country’s economy has suffered a serious decline following large scale theft in the oil industry.
This is not withstanding the zero tolerance of the menace always declared by security agencies. Though, in recent times, such nefarious activities have reduced compared to some years back, illegal oil bunkering, some experts predict, would be difficult to curtail.
This is because of the huge financial rewards it accrues to perpetrators and the high profile of those involved. Apart from the enormous loss of revenue to the country, oil theft has brought along social consequences on coastal communities where the activities are carried out.
For instance, the menace has brought serious setbacks and under-development to the communities. It has also caused environmental degradation and untimely deaths, destroying aquatic lives, as well as exposing the communities to danger and constant fear. Unquantifiable and incalculable property, including buildings, illegal refineries, drums and oil tools had been destroyed, when security operatives carry out raids.
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