Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nigeria wants probe into rising oil theft in Niger Delta

2 November 2011

ABUJANigeria's lower house of parliament is to investigate a rising wave of crude theft in the oil producing region of the Niger Delta, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Parliamentary committees on petroleum resources and navy affairs have been asked to conduct an investigative hearing into the theft, Daniel Reyenieju, told AFP.

The legislator raised a motion in parliament on Tuesday about "the unprecedented upsurge of illegal bunkering activities within the Nigerian coastal region."

In the motion, he estimated that the country loses up to "about 150,000 to 200,000 barrels of crude oil" per day to theft.

The panels have to submit a report within eight weeks identifying the suspected thieves, owners of illegal vessels in Nigerian waters, the buyers of the stolen crude on the international market.

They were also tasked with investigating the role of the country's security agents in the crimes, he said.

Influential Nigerians and the military have been accused of involvement in the lucrative illegal oil industry.

Stolen crude and illegally refined petroleum products are regularly exported and also sold on the local black market.

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