Former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that Nigeria is losing $25 billion annually to illegal economy on Nigerian waters annually.
This was disclosed by the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi recently at a reception organised by Team Maritime Nigeria to celebrate his achievements in the maritime sector, He said illegal bunkerers in Nigeria are the 7th largest producers of oil in Africa.
Speaking on the implementation of the $195 million maritime security contract signed between the Federal Government and an Israeli firm, HSLi Global, Amaechi said that some stringent interests were working against its successful implementation.
He however argued that whether the Israelis deliver on the contract or not, they would get their money at the end of the day.
He added: “I don’t know who would be the next minister of transport, but if you are not strong, that security outfit would not fly, it is a $195 million dollars contract, whether they deliver or not, the people will get their money.” While explaining the rationale behind the signing of the security contract, Amaechi said illegal bunkerers on Nigerian waters were generating as much as $7billion annually, adding that cumulatively, their illegal activities on the waters is about $25billion annually.
“The Americans spoke to me when I was Governor and said Nigerian bunkerers are the 7th largest producers of oil in Africa, that is illegal bunkering, the Americans were sent to me then by President Barack Obama. They said we are sent by the president to see you before we see President Goodluck Jonathan, they sent their Marines that they want to come and protect our oil”
“And I gave a letter written by the former CBN governor who said that $49billion dollars was missing from NNPC, it was from my office that the controversy started. So I told them to forget the $7billion, first recover the $49 billion, our bunkerers are the 7th largest producers with $7 billion. When you compute all these economies on the waters, it is within $20 and $25 billion, if you put that money in Nigerian economy, the country will be rich.”