According to a British research report, Nigeria’s politicians and officials are profiting off of stolen oil from the very nation they represent. Nigeria is the world’s 13th largest producer of oil and an estimated 100,000 barrels a day are being stolen. Corrupt officials help export the resource all over the world through illegal networks that tap into the oil pipelines. Illegal oil refineries are often found near the swamps and creeks, and are easy to find due to the plumes of smoke. The average cost per barrel is close to $100, coming to nearly $4 billion in annual losses. Not only is the nation losing out on its natural resource but also major oil companies, like Shell, that operate in Nigeria have reported significant loss in production. More recent documents report that the problem is only growing.
Although poor environmental practices aren’t among the top concerns in this article, the images along with the piece show the careless nature of these illegal refineries. Small sites that are often close to water sources like creeks and ports are polluted with thick oil. The Nigerian population not only has to deal with the illegal activities but the effects upon their environment as well. The political leaders are abusing their power and the Nigerian society is paying for it. Towards the end of the article, Nossiter mentions the country’s return to democracy allowed civilian officials more access to the stolen oil, meaning thieves pay them for protection from prosecution. It’s issue like this that lends a hand in effecting the politics of oil around the world. Not only is part of the population stealing and their officials looking the other way, but also other nations are supporting the system by buying the oil. Oil is already a dirty business for the environment, and now light is being shed on the dirty business practices too.
Sept. 19 2013 6:30PM