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.
Keywords: Oil theft, Pipelinpe Vandalism, Niger Delta, Bunkering.