President Muhammadu Buhari has said that security would be increased across the country to try to stamp out widespread oil theft, a week after a supertanker was detained off the coast of Equatorial Guinea.
“We will not allow a few criminals to have unfettered access to the nation’s crude oil supply, hence I have directed our security agencies to speedily bring to a halt the activities of these vandals in the Niger Delta,” the President said in a statement.
“There should be no hiding place for such criminals, and our cooperation with neighbouring countries in halting these crimes is being strengthened and tightened,” he said.
On August 12, the supertanker, MV Heroic Idun, with a capacity of three million barrels, was seized by the navy of Equatorial Guinea, days after resisting arrest and fleeing Nigeria.
Equatorial Guinea’s chief prosecutor, Anatalio Nzang Nguema, told state television that the tanker’s 25-member crew — including 16 Indians, seven Sri Lankans, a Pole and a Filipino — had been arrested.
Hundreds of millions of barrels of oil are stolen or siphoned from pipelines every day in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest producer of crude, and subsequently resold on the black market.