Two Britons and 10 Nigerians were on Friday arrested by the military for oil theft.
Commander of the Joint Task Force, Major-General E.J. Atewe told journalists that two of the oil thieves had approached an officer to request clearance to move the crude oil and that they openly admitted their plan was to hack into a pipeline and connect a hose that would siphon crude out of it onto a waiting boat, and offered him $6,500 to provide a gunboat to protect them on the way out.
“The suspects were immediately arrested for attempting to bribe the brigade commander for economic sabotage,” Atewe said in a statement, and a follow-up operation had led to the arrest of two Britons and another eight Nigerians.
Oil theft has been a major headache to the Nigerian government, making the nation to lose billions of dollars.
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala , puts the figure of oil theft and illegal bunkering at 400,000 barrels per day while one of the Joint Venture Operators , estimates the loss to be about 150,000 to 180,000 barrels per day.
“If we rely on official government figures, it means that Nigeria and her operating partners may be losing a cumulative estimate of $40m ( about N6bn) per day at a flat price of $100 per barrel of crude oil. This translates to an estimated N2.184 trillion per annum, she said.