News / Africa

Army Moving to Curb Oil Theft in Nigeria

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua (C), flanked by Vice President of Nigeria, Jonathan Goodluck (R), shakes hands with Government Ekpemupolo (L), commander of rebel group MEND, during their meeting in Abuja (File Photo)
Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua (C), flanked by Vice President of Nigeria, Jonathan Goodluck (R), shakes hands with Government Ekpemupolo (L), commander of rebel group MEND, during their meeting in Abuja (File Photo)

Nigerian security officials say former militants frustrated by delays in a government amnesty program are once again stealing oil in the Niger Delta.

Nigeria's army says it is on a search and destroy mission to rid the Niger Delta of illegal oil refineries used by former militants who are tired of waiting for the jobs promised as part of a government amnesty program.

Theft and sabotage in the Niger Delta last year cut oil production to record lows with Angola threatening to overtake Nigeria as Africa's largest oil producer. Nigeria's navy this year stopped a Greek tanker loaded with 800 metric tons of stolen oil.

Nigerian oil exports are slowly growing again, in part because of the relative peace that followed early successes in the amnesty program.

But the program lost momentum in the prolonged medical absence of President Umaru Yar'Adua. With its future in doubt, Nigerian security forces are using gun-boats and helicopters to raid illegal refineries across the Niger Delta.

"Over time we have learned a lot of tricks used in the illegal oil theft in the Niger Delta, and most importantly also you cannot operate in the Niger Delta, or for any military operation for that matter, without intelligence, so we have improved our intelligence gathering and capability," said General Sarkin Bello, Nigerian army's spokesman in the Niger Delta.

But law enforcement alone can not stop oil smuggling in an area as vast and porous as the Niger Delta. Local activists say it is economic development that is needed to offer alternatives to jobless young men.

Attorney Mcarthy Mbudagha says oil thieves exploit both local poverty and a series of unkept promises by the government in Abuja to invest in the Delta's infrastructure.

"There is something I call injustice that injustice produced, where you are in a society where every facet of the society is crippled with injustice, those in governments who are in a position to deal with that injustice turn blind eyes to it, then this is the kind of situation result you are going to get," said Mbudagha. "It is unjust cost and like I said, it does not lie in the use of the government to say they are not aware of this."

Raymond Gilpin, an associate vice president for sustainable economies at the U.S. Institute of Peace, says it is not only delays in the amnesty program that are fueling a resurgence in oil theft. It is preparations for next year's nationwide elections.

"Oil theft usually follows a political cycle," said Gilpin. "It is one way for the local militia and local politicians to build their war chests just before the elections.

There is also the environmental impact of delta waterways polluted by spills caused by oil thieves and the burning of mangrove forests in fires used to process stolen crude in illegal refineries.

Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan says security in the Niger Delta is one of his top priorities. He is asking both foreign oil companies and local residents to be patient as he says his new Cabinet is determined to reinvigorate the amnesty program to help former militants and better develop the Delta's economy.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid