Monday, 12 September 2011
WikiLeaks implicates Nigeria's political elite in oil theft
The November 2009 cable sent by then US Consul-General Donna M. Blair, stated: "Oil theft, widely referred to as 'illegal bunkering' in Nigeria, represents significant economic activity with serious ramifications for Nigeria's economy, security, democracy and environment."
The cable went on: "No other, major oil-producing country ... loses as much revenue from illicit oil bunkering as Nigeria, largely because the political elite, militants, and communities profit from such operations."
Oil bunkering remains widespread, with little known about the shadowy process of how the illegally obtained oil, invariably by drilling into pipelines, is stored or distributed. The cable suggested that a Joint Military Task Force (JTF) charged with quelling militancy in the Delta at the time was also involved.
The cable concluded: "Various experts have estimated the volume of oil theft at between 100,000 and 250,000 barrels per day or as much as 91 million barrels per year. This amounts to billions of dollars in lost revenue for the Nigerian treasury every year."
For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.
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