Nigeria is a nation endowed with human and natural resources. One of its most prized natural endowments is the crude oil and it occupies the crust in the South-South and South-Eastern part of the country.
Crude oil is well sought after by governments and individuals around the world and over the years it has been nicknamed the black gold by many who deem it logical to compare its popularity to the precious golden metal.
But while other nations with similar endowments have made do with the precious gift bestowed upon them like the biblical faithful servant who invested the money given him by his master and reaped bountifully, Nigeria, which ranks among the top richest nations with the commodity, is yet to record any meaningful achievement since crude oil was first discovered more than four decades ago.
Today, the precious commodity which ought to make the nation great has been subject to several challenges ranging from pipeline vandalism to sea piracy and ultimately corruption.
Nevertheless, Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has the issue of corruption on the front burner of his administration. He actually rode to power on the wheels of being ‘Mr. Anti-Corruption’ but he has had too many worries than he may have anticipated.
For the oil sector alone, there are issues of pipeline vandalism, corruption, and sea piracy. These coupled the Bokoharam insurgency in the North, Niger Delta militancy in the South and Biafra restiveness in the East, makes one begin to wonder if the oil rich nation is sitting on a keg of gun powder.
The militancy in the South has taken a frightening twist which spells doom for the oil and gas sector as a group called Niger Delta Avengers came on board recently. The militant group recently claimed responsibility for the destruction of pipeline and oil facilities in the Niger Delta and have also warned Chevron Plc not to carry out repair works at the valve platform that was blown up by the group last week, until its demands are met.
“From our investigation, Chevron Plc is about to carry out repair works at the valve platform that was blown up by us (Niger Delta Avengers). We made it clear that no repair works should be done until our demands are fully met.” an online statement signed by its spokesman, Col. Mudoch Agbinigbo.
The group had also lamented that since Chevron had been operating in the Niger Delta region for over 40 years and no day passes without their terminals having electricity, while the host communities and villages around the terminals lack basic amenities like portable water, schools, hospitals, roads and electricity.
Buhari is yet to show the grit of a retired General to combat this criminality which has escalated pipeline vandalism and has seen the nation’s oil output drop significantly. It has also impeded the local refining of the product but the corruption occasioned by marketers of the product and sea piracy has equally impeded the growth of the sector and the availability of the product in recent years.
Critics accuse the Nigerian president and former military dictator, of failing to grasp the mafia-like workings of the Delta, and gloomily predict that deeper trouble lies ahead if militants decide to combine forces with independence protesters in the neighbouring region, formerly known as Biafra.
These issues remain very sensitive and they will require carefully thought-out strategies but President Buhari should swiftly nip this anomaly in the bud.