Illegal Bunkery

3313 Words Oct 13th, 2011 14 Pages
The Political Economy Of Illegal Bunkering In Nigeria

By

Kòmbò Mason Braide (PhD)

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Demonise & Diabolise:

The Niger Delta has been a source of illicit international business deals (like the trans-Atlantic slave trade), as far back as the 15th century. Today a new form of syndicated criminal proclivity is threatening the very foundations of Nigeria’s petroleum industry, and by extension, the Nigerian economy, as well as putting tremendous pressure on Chief (General) Olusegun Obasanjo. That problem is the "illegal bunkering" of crude oil and/or its derivatives.

The term "bunkering", (whether legal or illegal) has been thoroughly abused, demonised, and misused in Nigerian parlance, so much so that the mere
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However, the criminalisation of bunkering operations, the unstable, inadequate, and unreliable domestic refining capacity, and a miasma of simplistically conceived national energy policies, among several other reasons, account for this unique anomaly in Nigeria. Actually, ships prefer not to come to Nigeria and bunker because of the high port charges, related miscellaneous illegalities, called "levies", and official extortions like mandatory but illegal "military task force approvals".

The Origins Of A Dysfunction:

Before 1973, petroleum products pricing was not uniform in Nigeria. The retail prices of petroleum products were dependent on the point of sale, relative to the only primary distribution depot then, at the Shell-BP Refinery, Alesa Eleme, near Okrika, near Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

In October 1973, the military dictatorship of General Yakubu Gowon decreed uniform pricing of refined petroleum products for the Nigerian market. Subsequently, the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) Decree No. 9 of 1975 was promulgated. To date, it provides for the uniform pricing of all petroleum products throughout Nigeria, irrespective of distance from point of production. The Board of the Petroleum
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