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Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

With the rate at which the country is ravaged by oil bunkering, one is always tempted to ask, will there ever be an end to oil bunkering in Nigeria? Just recently, over 100 persons lost their lives as a result of an explosion that happened at an illegal oil bunkering site in Imo state. Despite the risk involved in oil bunkering, it hasn’t in any way deterred people from still venturing into it.

According to reports, Nigeria loses $200m monthly to oil bunkering, yet the government still handles it with levity. No doubt the illegal activity of bunkering has a crippling effect on the economy of Nigeria. Oil theft siphons the main source of the Nigerian economy for private gains.

Different experts have estimated that the volume of oil theft in the country is between 100,000 and 250,000 barrels per day with billions of dollars lost yearly in revenue. Both the financial and environmental impacts of illegal oil numbering in Nigeria have reached an alarming rate, which calls for urgent intervention by the government.

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Individuals continue to vandalize pipelines for years, siphoning oil that they sell for private gains. Aside from the financial impact of bunkering on the nation’s economy, oil bunkering poses a danger to the environment. Vandalizing pipelines and flow stations causes environmental damage to the region.

A case study is the Niger Delta, where the region has been saturated with oil, as a result of oil spillage associated with illegal bunkering and pipeline sabotage. This act has affected agriculture in the region and has made farmlands unconducive for planting.

Aquatic life has also not been left out, as they are killed in mass as a result of oil spills into the water. It’s high time the government declares war on these illegal oil bunkers because they are causing more harm than good which is also having an adverse effect on the nation’s economy.

Illegal oil bunkering can lead to the destruction of a community or the region because these activities are highly dangerous. Whenever there is an explosion, it can raze down buildings, causing many to be homeless. If the government continues to allow these oil bunkers to continue to vandalize pipelines, such criminal activities can cripple the nation’s oil and gas production.

It’s high time the government institutionalizes state police, and mounts checks, in communities where these pipelines pass through. Also, community policing will be effective, where few indigenes of a community can act as police which is officially recognized by the community chief and the government, to observe and report any illegal act of oil bunkering in the area.

Also, there should be routine checks by armed personnel and the state petroleum minister to ensure that there is no case of oil bunkering happening at designated areas where these pipelines are located. The government must understand that the Nigerian economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector, which accounts for over 95 percent of export earnings and about 40 percent of government revenues. If they continue to allow unscrupulous individuals to continually siphon the country’s major resources, it can pose a serious challenge to the country’s economy.

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