Nigeria oil theft at highest level in years

Bunkering crude oil theft
Bunkering crude oil theft

Nigeria is facing its worst oil crisis in years, as the country is losing billions of dollars due to theft.

In Southern Ijaw in Bayelsa State, Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh follows an oil theft arrest and the destruction of multiple illegal refineries for stolen crude. 

“Despite these efforts, oil theft in Nigeria is at its highest levels in five years since the government gave amnesty to former rebels in the area,” she says. “The government says eight billion dollars in revenue were lost in ‘industrial-scale’ theft last year and multinational oil giants have started reducing their on-shore presence here, selling off fields as a result of the theft.”

She also speaks to illegal oil workers, who say they have no other potential form of income, and to activist Nengi James, who blames the government for not doing enough to secure the pipeline infrastructure and prosecute suspects. 

“Despite low-level arrests on the issue, there have been no serious large-scale prosecutions,” says Rawya. “Until those at the helm of this illegal trade are held to account, Nigeria’s riches will keep burning away.

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