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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora