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Former Minister of transportation and Director General of President Muhammadu Buhari 2019 Re-election Campaign, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has opened up, saying the worth of oil bunkering cartels in Nigerian waters is about $25bn which can comfortably make them the seventh largest oil producers in the continent.
Speaking weekend in Lagos at a reception and book launch held in his honour by a support group whose membership spanned across major maritime agencies including the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the Nigerian Ports Authority and others, he said the volume of illegal oil bunkering, piracy and other illegal businesses on Nigerian waters has crossed the redline.
According to him, “Illegal economy in the (Nigerian) waters is about $25bn. The Americans spoke to me; they said Nigerian illegal bunkering merchants are the seventh largest producers of oil in Africa.
However, he expressed fresh hope of correction of the anomalies, noting that “One place I will leave with you is the security outfit we are pushing. I don’t know who will be the minister of transport; you have to be strong. That security outfit is a $195m contract. Whether they deliver or not, the people will take their money.
He revealed further that already, “They (contractors; HSLi Group of Israel) are training our security that will handle the waters and we hope that it will be successful.”
To drive home his observations during his time as Minister, Amaechi averred that “If the money lost to illegal business on the water as well as the one spent on escort services to secure vessels calling at Nigerian shores was put back into the economy every year, Nigeria would be richer.”
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