23 May 2013 08:00
Crude oil theft has become a common phenomena in Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria, which ranks seventh among oil-producing nations. The majority of citizens in the Niger Delta live on less than $1 per day, despite the fact that the country possesses vast natural resources and produces over 2 million barrel of crude oil daily.
The resulting widespread poverty has turned many toward criminality for income, particularly oil theft.
Zoin Ibegi in the oil-rich Niger Delta says, "Many of us live below one cent a day, despite being blessed with crude oil whereby forcing many of us into illegal refinery business because we can't continue in this poverty circle."
On daily basis, crude oil is emptied into the rivers, owing to low technical-know-how of these locals are not educated on the ecological repercussions of their actions.
The Niger Delta's Joint Task Force (JTF) is responsible for eradicating oil theft in the region. Though citizens see crude oil theft as an option as a result of an inability for them to get out of poverty in another way, the JTF believes that communities in the region have shielded the "thieves" and are perpetuating a culture of criminality.