THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF OIL THEFT AND PIPELINE VANDALISM IN NIGER DELTA, 2000-2015
This study examined the political economy of oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta, which has negatively impacted on the Nigerian economy. This is because the Nigerian State solely depends on oil generated revenues for her economic survival. The aim of this study is to critically examine the methods, actors, causes, impacts of oil theft and the measures adopted by the Nigerian government to combat oil theft. Secondary data were generated for the study, while content analysis was used for data
interpretation and analysis. The study revealed that different individuals and groups were involved in oil theft and illegal bunkering activities. The study further proved that persistence of oil theft in the Niger Delta is due to the enthroned corruption by Nigerian elites, high level of youth unemployment, ineffective and corrupt law enforcement agencies and international crime collaborations. The study also revealed that successive Nigerian governments have made attempts to curb the menace by the establishment of a
special security outfit, militarization of the Niger Delta and granting of amnesty to Niger Delta militants but the upsurge of oil theft in recent times clearly indicates that success has not been achieved, hence some recommendations were proffered to put amend to oil theft in the Niger Delta region. To halt and cease oil theft and pipeline vandalism, government officials, military personnel, MNCs and the host communities must form synergy and work together in curbing this menace. Government and MNCs should also live their responsibilities in the areas of policies, programmed and strict adherent of
memorandum of understanding entered with the various host communities.
1.1 Background to the Study
Oil is unarguably the lifeblood of modern economy and it has now become the most essential commodity in the world. Hence, no nation today can survive without oil; that is why Smil (2008) describes it as the “lifeblood of modern world”, adding that, “without oil, there would be no globalization, no plastic, little transport, and a worldwide landscape that few would recognize”. Yergin (2008) also calls it “the world’s most important resource”. In recognition of the significance of oil, Feyide (1986:23) aptly
Oil is raw material as well as a convenient and effective source of energy. In the form of energy it increases man’s capacity to get work done. As a raw material it provides the feedback for the fasts
expanding industry in the world-the petrochemical industry…All over the world lives of people are affected and the destinies of nations are probably determined by the results of oil industry operations. Oil keeps the factories of the industrialized countries working and provides the revenues which enable oil exporters to execute ambitious national and economic development plans.
Those developing countries that have no oil are faced with a grim struggle for survival: if they lose they are relegated to the “fourth world” the march of progress would be retarded and life itself would become unbearable if the world was deprived of oil. That is why oil has become the concern of governments, a vital ingredient of their policies and a crucial factor in their political and diplomatic strategies.
Nigeria, being a mono-economy nation, largely depends on the oil sector for its economic survival. The Nigerian economy is dependent on the exploitation of crude oil and the nation’s future is very much tied to the commodity (Okere, 2013). Indeed, oil and gas resources from Niger Delta region accounts for over 90% of Nigerian export and foreign exchange earnings, and over 70% of total Nigerian revenue (Ekuerhare, 2002).
This informs Wilson (2012) to state that the increase or otherwise in crude oil production affects directly the revenue base and developmental programs of Nigerian state. Oil is now the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy. It is the country’s major export, fetching millions of petrodollars to the country each day. Sadly, that same resource is being savagely stolen in copious quantities on daily basis (Adeboboye, 2013).
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