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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Is Nigeria’s Abundant Oil-Bank, a Curse, Or a Blessing?

The West African country is among the top 10 oil-producing countries in Africa

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Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga is a graduate of Mass Communication and aspiring investigative journalist.

NIGERIA: Nigeria is one of the largest oil producers in the whole world. The West African country is among the top 10 oil-producing countries in Africa. Nigeria produces over one million barrels of oil in a single day.   

Now, the country is ready to advance its hydrocarbon sector with the launch of about 100 oil and gas projects for the coming five years. Additionally, Nigeria has around 25 upstream projects. This advancement will result in enhancing oil production in Nigeria. The leading branch of the Nigerian economy is crude oil production.

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Even with the presence of abundant natural resources, 40 percent of citizens in Nigeria still live below the poverty line.

To determine whether Nigeria’s abundant oil reserve is a curse or a blessing is a tough call to make. However, with the current situation, it is evident that it is more of a curse than a blessing. Nigeria’s oil production sector is managed by corrupt individuals who are not questioned for their deeds or their exorbitant sources of wealth.

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Corruption has always been a major dilemma of many African countries including Nigeria. According to a study, Nigeria holds the 149th position out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index. This ranking has put Nigeria in a negative light. Due to this, the country is having a hard time attracting investors. 

Lack of technical knowledge and strict regulations are some of the contributing factors that have led to the ill-functioning of the oil refineries. These agencies are responsible for connecting with independent oil marketers which have led to high oil prices and imposing artificial scarcity of the commodity in our country.

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Poor government management of the available resources has also contributed to the yielding of corruption and to scarcity of the products. African governments don’t pay much attention to the ministry and agencies of oil production. Instead of this, they are more interested in the financial outcome. 

Research has shown that Nigeria loses around 200,000 barrels per day due to crude oil theft. Crude oil theft is a big offense in Nigeria. But, with a lack of proper law, most of the offenders are spared without facing any penalty. Many Nigerians are engaged in illegal oil business theft to earn money. 

Even with the abundant natural resources, Nigeria’s education and healthcare centers are still in a bad state.

Nigeria is not capable of developing standard healthcare facilities and educational institutes due to a shortage of financial resources. 

Solution to the oil theft dilemma

Educating Nigerians about the danger involved in oil theft or illegal refining will be an important step to reduce the problem. Awareness programs should be broadcast on radios and tv shows to shift the focus on the grave issue.

Foreign investigators should be encouraged to invest in and support the oil sector. But these people must be assured of their safety before they are financially involved.

Insecurity has also contributed to the issues of oil theft, where workers are being taken away from their place of work and huge amounts of money are demanded.

Finally, the Nigerian government and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have individually approved that oil manufacturing companies should collectively join to fight the lingering issue of illegal miners.

Also Read: Classroom Fire Kills 25 School Children in Naimey, Niger


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