Nigeria is currently losing $25 billion annually to illegal oil bunkering and insecurity on the nation's waterways.
This was disclosed by the immediate past minister of transportation, Rt. Hon Rotimi Amechi, over the weekend at a reception organised by Team Maritime Nigeria to celebrate the achievements of the former minister of transportation in the maritime sector.
Amaechi said the $25 billion illegal economy in the Nigerian waters was as a result of illicit oil bunkering. He further stated that if the $25 billion Nigeria losses to illegal water economy were ploughed back into the nation's economy, Nigeria would be a rich country.
He however, said that during his tenure as the minister of transportation, the ministry pushed for a security contract of $195 million to tackle insecurity in the nation's water. Amaechi advised that if the new minister of transportation is not strong, the security contract would not fly.
Speaking further on the illegal activities, he added, "Americans spoke to me when I was a governor, and they said Nigeria bunkerers are the largest seven producers of oil in Africa but there is illegal bunkers. They came to me that the former President Obama sent them in respect of the meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan."
They said, 'We are to tell you that President Goodluck Jonathan had a meeting with President Obama and told him that US marine should come and protect the nation's oil.' I asked which oil? They said we are the seventh largest producer in terms of bunkering.
"I opened my drawer, I gave them the letter the CBN governor wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan that $49 billion was missing from NNPC.
"When I showed them, they were surprised, and I said forget this $7 billion, they covered the $49 billion. The point I am making is our bunkerers are the seventh largest producer with $7 billion. Look at those who escort vessels and those who escort them to the platform, when they complete that, all illegal economies is between $20 billion to $25 billion, if we put that in our economy, Nigeria will be rich," he added.