Wikileaks: How Nigerian Politicians And Soldiers Engage in Oil Theft

Nigeria’s political elite and soldiers have profited from large-scale oil theft in the Niger Delta that may cost the country up to a tenth of its production, according to a leaked United States diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks at the end of last week.

Nigeria is the world’s eighth biggest exporter of crude oil, but according to the report, thieves take a sizeable proportion of its output by drilling into pipelines or sometimes hijacking barges loaded with oil, a type of theft known locally as “bunkering”.

“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,” said the November 2009 cable sent by then-US Consul-General Donna M. Blair, released by the anti-secrecy group.

“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,” Blair added.

An amnesty for militants in the Niger Delta in 2009 brought a degree of security and has helped cut attacks on pipelines, enabling Nigeria to restore production to around two million barrels of oil a day (bpd).

But oil bunkering is believed to be still widespread, and little is known of the shadowy networks that steal, store, ship and market the oil.

“Nigerian officials repeatedly request U.S. assistance to prevent bunkering. The reality, however, is that most oil bunkering is not a global phenomenon readily susceptible to international deterrence, but a largely Nigerian development that requires domestic resolution,” the cable said.

The cable suggested that a Joint Military Task Force, JTF, tasked with quelling militancy in the Delta at the time was also involved. It even likened the JTF and the militants to rival drug gangs.

“Some observers compared the relationship between the JTF and major militant groups to arrangements between rival gangs in U.S. urban areas; generally each JTF unit and militant band had its own territory in which they operated and from which they derived their illicit incomes,” it said.

“Profits from illegal bunkering became high enough in the last several years to enable both JTF members and ‘militants’ to profit and co-exist without seriously interfering with each other’s activities. Fighting only erupted when disputes arose about boundaries”.

An estimated 100,000 barrels of crude are stolen from the Niger Delta each day, about five percent of the country’s crude production. The cable suggested it may even be more.

“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”, it said.

  1. Bruce Reply

    Na waooo,Nigeria is really a failed Nation

  2. Bruce Reply

    A failed nation,am really sorry for niger

    • Gabrielle Reply

      It’s rlelay great that people are sharing this information.

  3. Lawal Reply

    Can this really be true about my country Nigeria?am not surprise,that the military
    Which is surppose to protect our nation boundary is involved in sure act.
    I really having a revolution,will bring Nigeria back on track.

  4. Jonnie Reply

    In a country where there are diverse tribes and communities…Positive growth should have gone beyond where it seems to be now, but the so called leaders have betrayed the trust invested on them by the teeming populace of our dear country…the order of the day is GRAB…GRAB tendency, all for one none for all.

    • Nisan Reply

      What nonsense Nigeria will prxoet our crude oil outside to refine, and who own this refinery? Nigerians, the subsidy Nigeria paid, who received it, into whose pocket, the Nigerians. and so the money continue to go round within few Nigerians. Did Nigerians beg GOD to bless this country with oil from the soil? was it not free gift? answer me. By now Nigeria suppose to have at least 8 good functioning oil refineries in Nigerian. All the oil we are consuming suppose to be fined in Nigeria. If I tell that God is happy for what the Elites is doing with this Free Gift of nature to our country that suppose to be use for the poor masses I most be joking. If they think they have saved the monies for their generationsI mean the Thieves, the Elites they should wait. God with His own Mighty HAND will returned these ill-gotten monies. Soon and very Soon God will judge all of them, I am sure of that. Take my word or you leave it. So shall my word be that goeth out of my mouth it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it Issiah 55:11.

  5. Hibee Reply

    Nigeria is in a pathetic state, sometimes our situation want to get tears rolling domn my face. Government/people trust is Zero. Who is going to save us frm dis mess, from these blood sucking demons who call themselves leaders, that aims at sucking life out of this Nation. In the true sense of d word Nigeria as no Government. she simply has money hungry vampires as rulers. God choose us a LEADER to lead us to the war front.

    • Phuoc Reply

      First, they demand for the list of eieefnciaribs of Subsidy and the list was released including how much they were paid. I was expecting the NGO, NLC, NANS to rise up and demand for their persecution for robbing Nigeria all these years.The best way to stop this cartel is the stop subsidy which is a free money to them. Do you know that even the subsidized fuel is being diverted to other countries like Cameroon, Niger Republic, Chad and Togo? Why cant we for once support a President that even dare to open our eyes to see what has been going on secretly? Now look at some of these eieefnciaribs:1. Conoil Plc Mike Adenuga MD (owned Globacom)2. Oando Plc Wale Tinubu ( owned pipeline construction coy)3. Energy Petrol Jimo Ibrahim4. Dangote Group Aliko Dangote5. AP6. Total7. Mobil etc etc etcCan anyone deny that these organizations and individuals are not capable of building own refineries in Nigeria all these years?Some are among the richest in the world today. Why cant Nigerians fight the right fight by calling on these eieefnciaribs to use that money to build refineries in Nigeria and create employment for the youths.SUBSIDY REMOVAL: GEJ IS ON COURSE: ALL MUST SUPPORT HIM TO SUCCEED. INTHE BEGINNING HE TOLD US AND WE KNOW THAT HE MUST TAKE DIFFICULT ANDPAINFUL DECISIONS IN ORDER TO TAKE US TO THE PROMISED LAND. WE KNOW HECAN DO IT. WE KNOW HE WILL DO IT BECAUSE GOD IS WITH HIM. ALL WE NEEDNOW IS TO ASK GOD FOR HIS COMFORT AND SUPPORT AS WE COMMENCE THE FIRSTSTEPS OF MANY STEPS TO OUR FREEDOM, PROSPERITY AND DURABLE DEMOCRACY.GEJ, IT IS PAINFUL AND THE MOST DISTRESSED BUT I WILL GO ALL THE WAY WITH YOU.. DON’T DESPAIR,KEEP THE FAITH, YOUR CROWN IS ASSURED! WHO DO WE TURN TO THAT HAS NOT FAILED US BEFORE : NLC, TUC OR WHO? ONLY YOU GEJ, HAS NOT BE TRIED BEFORE. PLEASE REBROADCASTALL I KNOW IS THAT TRUTH MUST ULTIMATELY PREVAIL. NLC AND OTHER TRADE UNIONS ARE ONE OF THE GREATEST ENEMIES OF NIGERIA. DURING THE JUNE 12 STRUGGLE FOR THIS DEMOCRACY WE ARE ALL ENJOYING NOW. THE MILITARY BRIBED THE NLC WITH AN ABUJA HEADQUARTER OFFICE WHICH THEY LATER SOLD PRIVATELY AND SHARED THE MONEY, AS A RESULT WHEN THE BATTLE FOR DEMOCRACY WAS AT ITS PEAK AND WE NEEDED THEM THEY PUSSY FOOTED AND TURNED TAIL LIKE FRIGHTENED RATS. TODAY AGAIN HAVING BEING COMPROMISED BY FUEL SHARKS OF NIGERIA INCORPORATED they are calling out the poor and their children TO COME OUT AND DIE FOR THEM AND THEIR PAYMASTERS.

  6. Phil Reply

    These, are d greedy bastards whom Hardluck is suppose 2 call 2 justice rather than removing subsidy.

  7. Yakub Reply

    The president himself is strong man of the so cabals he pretends to prevent from stealing… Oh God make them realise their mistakes…

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