Why oil-rich Nigeria has trouble exploiting its wealth | DW News

Why oil-rich Nigeria has trouble exploiting its wealth | DW News
Nigeria and its oil wealth is a complicated story. The west African nation is the continent’s biggest oil producer, and it ranks eleventh in global terms.But it has a hard time attracting foreign investment – prompting President Muhammadu Buhari to free Nigeria’s state-owned oil firm from state control earlier this month.Oil accounts for 90 percent of Nigeria’s exports but it’s had problems exploiting that wealth of crude – producing well under its daily OPEC quota.It’s estimated that about a tenth of the oil pumped ends up stolen: In the first quarter of 2022 that was crude worth a billion dollars. Where it ends up is a dirty business. Illegal refineries mark Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta. Dirty and dangerous: Back in April, an refinery exploded, killing more than a hundred people.
The government is cracking down on illegal refineries. But when DW correspondent Flourish Chukwurah visited the Niger Delta, she found that the problem is far from over.

Nigeria and its oil wealth well that is
a complicated story the west African
the nation is the continent’s biggest oil
producer and it ranks 11th in global
terms but
it has had a hard time attracting
foreign investment
prompting president muhammadu Buhari to
free Nigeria’s state-owned oil firm from
state control earlier this month now oil
accounts for 90 of Nigeria’s exports but
it’s had problems exploiting that wealth
of crude producing well under its daily
opec quota now it is estimated that
about a tenth of the oil pumped ends up
stolen in the first quarter of 2022
that was crude worth a billion dollars
and where it ends up is a dirty business
illegal refineries mark nigeria’s
oil-rich niger delta
dirty and dangerous back in april this
refinery exploded killing more than a
hundred people
now the government
is cracking down on these illegal
refineries but when dw correspondent
flores shukura visited the niger delta
she found that the problem is far from
over
this is what happens when nigerian
security forces find an illegal oil
refinery
dw obtained rarely seen footage taken by
officers as they set fire to one of the
many refineries scattered through the
niger delta
they stepped upright since the accident
in april which killed more than 100
people but they say it’s a never-ending
task
sometimes when we try and destroy most
of this
elegant refined refineries that you see
in the creeks
they will still go back
to fix it back we’ll still go back
to destroy it we’ve been mandated
by the law to
clam down on those
that are perpetrating on this evil act
so it’s actually a crime to the nation
a crime to the environment a crime to
the community
some blame a spike in terminal illness
in the region on leaks and accidents at
illegal refineries
just behind me
this is caused by oil spills and once
the crutch gets into the water body
is this the resultant
position
fishes dies every living organism
in the water body dies
meaning our grandchildren the great
great grand children on bond are coming
to in an inherit an environment that’s
incarcerated that’s completely destroyed
and yet men like this feel they have
little over option
he runs a camp in the creeks where they
refine stolen crude oil almost every
night
camps like his are called purple fire
we cannot just stay and just be
surviving we really want to live
yes because
this business pays
that it pays us the income is good
we’re not talking about just the owners
of the product we’re talking about we
want the workers they get good pay
so
[Music]
the risk sometimes we know so we try to
minimize it too
he knows he’s risking his life
he could die in an accident or if caught
and convicted spend the rest of his life
in jail but he says there’s no other way
to earn a living for his family
kerosene is the most common product from
illegal refineries
and business is burning
legally refined kerosene is not
available in this region
everyone buys from pogba fire
this is what the locally refined
kerosene looks like now this bottle
costs just 200 era which is less than
one dollar many people here depend
heavily on kerosene for cooking they
don’t use cooking gas and so it’s
readily available all around town
the bielsa region could be turned into
an oil producing and refining hub say
activists
they have been calling for the
government to legalize the refineries
and give the men operating them proper
training
there are no legal refineries working in
nigeria maurice alagwa has been
campaigning for such policies but says
there are many factors maintaining the
status quo
so there is high level corruption
the oil companies are
undervaluing the export volume
and then paying some people for that
the security agencies at the expo
terminal also collecting their own
and then even the nnpc
officials
so
what they are doing in the creeks the
boys are doing in the creeks is just
a tip in the iceberg
the big tips
are the export terminal
this region of the ninja delta currently
offers its people few work options
until nigeria starts refining its own
oil the country will continue to lose
billions of dollars to oil theft
and locals here will continue to earn
what they can
no matter how dangerous
and for more on the story we’ve invited
chief ningy james onto the program he is
an activist and community leader he
joins us
from the niger delta welcome to dw news
africa chief so we’ve just seen in our
report how dangerous
illegal oil refineries are how harmful
they are to the environment how is it
then that there are so many of them
seemingly operating in broad daylight in
the niger delta
yes uh actually you call it illegal
refineries we call it artisan refineries
there is not any legality here
because the entire process is on
organized crime
without the government and the military
office officials this
illegally finally you talked about would
have stopped because it has to do with
environmental hazard health hazard
very very dangerous situation
is
is doing well he said one of the
lucrative business because people are
pushed to the wall and there is abject
poverty in the land and there is no job
for the youth so what is now survival of
the fittest so even the government
officials who ought to have stopped it
or minimize it or not get it are even
enjoying it more so they don’t even want
it to stop
i i want to move our conversation a
little bit forward if you would allow me
to because people
associate oil with wealth
and from your experience does oil make
communities richer or poorer
very poor
very very poorer and very poorer
the oils that have been made blessing to
rust but the oil is now a blood oil he’s
bleeding he’s giving us disease health
hazard environmental hazards and
diseases of of kind
and i’m talking to you
as i’m talking to you
the death rate in our area is between
probably 40 years the illegal business
we are talking about is just one quarter
of what
they are stealing the bigger business is
being done by the iocs and the big
people at offshore they are loading the
crude oil the one the boys are cooking
is not compared to the number of the
ships they are loading so chief james
how then
could nigeria’s oil riches be used for
the common goods to benefit
the people everything about the oil
money is stolen
everything you are seeing i make believe
in structures
and they will come to that overseas and
tell you lies
false information
but in reality
most of the pujasees most of the
business
are the people who are doing this
business and creating a top abject
poverty in our land and that is where
you will know that the evil individuals
in nigeria are richer the communities
and the government is poor that is the
reason because of corruption corruption
in nigeria is about about 10 to 15 faces
that different corruption the oil
corruption is even the biggest
where there is no oil refineries in
nigeria
there is no refinery working we will now
take they will now
import export this crude oil go back to
the shore refineries
refine it
bring it back and put it in quantum of
volumes of naira claiming that this is
the amount we will buy
i think that is the highest corruption
in the world and that’s chief ningy
james talking to us from the niger delta

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