Posted by By Adeyeye Joseph on
Daily, illegal bunkerers operating in the Niger Delta steal at least 10 per cent of Nigerias total crude oil production, a new study says.....
Daily, illegal bunkerers operating in the Niger Delta steal at least 10 per cent of Nigerias total crude oil production, a new study says. Going by official daily crude oil production figures of 2.5 million barrels per day, this translates into a loss in the region of 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day or $17.5 million.
Countries at the Crossroads 2006,” a report issued by a United States-based not-for-profit organisation, Freedom House, last week also says that these gangs enjoy the active support of very powerful people in the society.
Roughly 10 per cent of Nigerias oil is being bunkered-stolen from pipes by rogue militias and criminal gangs in the Niger Delta region and resold on the black market. Many observers of Nigerian politics, human rights watch among them, indicate that these bunkering empires have connections to some of the nations most powerful figures, as well as allies within the military and oil corporations themselves,” the study says.
Founded by Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of a former US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Freedom House works for the promotion of free institutions worldwide. The study, an annual affair, uses what it says are four key governance indices (accountability and public voice; civil liberties; rule of law; and anticorruption and transparency) to measure the state of governance in countries that have slid on its popular freedom list to a stage described as a ‘crossroads. Crossroads countries, the study says, are neither optimal nor irredeemably poor performers.
Nigeria is one of the 30 countries classified as such in this years study. The study describes Nigerias democratic institutions as fragile and says it recorded very low scores for corruption and lack of transparency. Deepening dictatorship and increasing corruption are two major factors the report says are responsible for these ills.
The report notes, As Nigeria enters the seventh year of its latest effort to build democratic rule, the country remains trapped at the political crossroads, vacillating between democratic consolidation and the slow road to decay and dissolution. (Countries) such as Zimbabwe, Nepal, and Nigeria, showed a decline as a result of the growing authoritarian tendencies of their leaders,” the report says.
Zimbabwe was the worst performer of all 30 countries. But many Nigerians will find several similarities between what the study says is happening in Zimbabwe and their country. The primary interest of the Mugabe government is to retain power through a system of patronage that includes access to both state and private assets. The ruling ZANU-PF party owns a wide range of businesses, allowing party elite to profit personally,” the study says.
The study notes that increased constraints on press freedom are particularly pervasive in countries where corruption is most rampant. The study acknowledges the gains of President Olusegun Obasanjos administration but criticised the process for not being fair and transparent.
Since President Olusegun Obasanjo was elected in 1999, he has undertaken a number of marginal reforms seeking to reverse this situation. At the same time, however, he has increased his personal hold over the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and refused or (has) been unable to promote the most important reforms to secure democratic consolidation, such as ensuring the independence and probity of the electoral commission or respecting the independence of the legislature through the budgetary process,” it says.
The report expresses worry that some of the gains made in building Nigerias anticorruption machinery were in danger of politicisation. The auditor generals office has been largely quiet since early 2003 when the auditor general was removed after he released a report decrying fiscal irregularities at all three tiers of government,” the study says.
While the report has harsh words for the executive and legislature it praises the Supreme Court, saying it remains the most trusted judicial body in the federation.”
The report recommends depoliticising of Nigerias anti-corruption efforts.” It says the ICPC should be moved to the control of the National Assembly, while the EFCC should endeavour to refocus its activities to its original mandate, perhaps by moving the higher profile political cases to the office of the attorney general.
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