Campaigner seeks to end Nigerian oil theft

Oct. 24, 2012 at 7:37 AM
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ABUJA, Nigeria, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A Nigerian campaigner announced plans to monitor maritime shipping lanes for oil allegedly sold illegally to European and Asian markets.

Patrick Dele Cole, a former Nigerian diplomat, announced plans to monitor by satellite potentially illegal oil shipments from the country.

"Once you start asking questions and throwing light on this problem, you have solved more than 50 percent of the problem," Dele Cole was quoted by the BBC as saying.

Around 180,000 barrels of oil per day from Nigeria is sold on the black market at a cost to the government of around $6 billion, the BBC said.

Dele Cole, a politician from the oil-rich Niger Delta, said about 10 percent of the stolen oil is refined locally, while the rest makes its way to markets in Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine or Singapore. Politicians involved in the activity allegedly use kickbacks to fund election campaigns, he charges.

Nigerian farmers and the Dutch division of advocacy group Friends of Earth are suing Shell in a Dutch court for environmental damage caused by oil spills in the Ogoniland area of the Niger Delta. Shell said the majority of the oil spills in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria were the result of acts of sabotage.

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