The Nigerian government has beefed up security at the oil-rich Delta region after the militant attack that shut down one of its main oil-producing facilities. The government is assessing the losses from the daring militant attack on the Bonga oil field, operated by Royal Dutch Shell. Officials say the country is losing about $100 million dollars and 225,000 barrels of oil a day. They say the continuing attacks have resulted, in their words, in a massive bleeding of its revenue that could have irreparable consequences on its economy.Ernest Elochukwu is national president of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents. He says the economy will take years to recover from the effects of the attacks. "It has a very devastating effect on business here because right now the level of confidence for people…to do business in Nigeria is even eroding very fast and this is not to talk about the expatriates of foreigners who need to come in to help to open up the economy of the country. In a nutshell, it is really a very, very negative and devastating blow on the Nigerian economy."
Elochukwu says the maritime sector of the economy has been especially hard hit. "This…ship piracy used to be part of the dangers or the challenges of in the maritime industry but of late the incidence of ship piracy has assumed a more frightening dimension because they are now linked to the militant attacks, and so it has actually been threatening the existence or the sustenance of the maritime business as far as movement of cargo in and around Nigeria is concerned."Elochukwu says the seeming ease with which the militants attack targets in and around the area is a huge psychological (problem). "A lot of insinuations have been put forward, the principle of which is that they appear to have infiltrated the ranks of the military and hence they have information as to how and when it is easy and safe to attack locations and even military vehicles."