Political Economy Diagnosis of Crude Oil Theft in Nigeria: The Way Forward
Nigeria is said to be on the verge of a major fiscal crisis following unabated massive theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta. The Finance Minister (Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala) has said that oil theft/illegal oil bunkering costs the federal government $1 billion every month. Oil theft is perceived as a consequence of the state’s incapacity to bring succour to the populace in the Niger Delta and their desperation to meet their necessities. An analysis of oil theft in the context of the political economy theory reveals that it is a consequence of government’s exploitation of the Niger Deltans: the horrors brought about by oil exploration; the desperation of the Niger Deltans to change the social order; government’s repression of Niger Delta agitations and economic scarcity experienced by the Niger Deltans. Oil theft is part of a continuum which started with mild agitations to protests, intense activism and disruption of oil production. Apart from some Niger Deltans, top government officials, MNC’s staff, the navy, soldiers and the police are involved in illegal oil bunkering. To halt oil theft would require the government. MNCs, security officials and the Niger Deltans to act in synergy in curbing the trend.
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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)
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