Nigeria: March 26, 2005


Oil companies estimate that that between 275,000 and 685,000 barrels of oil a day are being stolen in Nigeria. This was providing the thieves with nearly five or six million dollars a day. The official estimates of oil theft are less than 100,000 barrels a day, but these estimates ignore what is stolen with the cooperation of military and government officials. In the last four decades, some $300 billion in oil revenue has been received by the government. Most of it has been stolen, but now corrupt officials are stealing oil even before it can be sold through legal means. The thieves in the government cannot agree on who gets what, so more officials are going freelance.  But in the Niger Delta, where most of the oil production is, local gangsters are becoming more of  a force. While the tribe based gangs preach a "Robin Hood" philosophy, this is mostly for public relations. The oil gangs are out to get rich, and have a good time doing it. They buy guns, booze, drugs, speed boats and all manner of goodies. They also buy lots of guns.


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