Nigeria Court Jailed Nine Asians Over Oil Theft


Nine Asian seamen were jailed yesterday by a Nigerian High Court over oil smuggling.

Five sailors from the Philippines and four from Bangladesh were sentenced to five years imprisonment each.

They were, however, given an option of fine to either go to jail or pay $100,000 for the theft.

Each year, the country loses billions of dollars from the theft of crude from sabotaged pipelines and illegal refining of oil products.

The country oil is sold on the lucrative black market, depriving Nigeria an estimated $ 6 billion a year in lost revenue.

It was learnt that the suspects were arrested in March in Lagos Lagoon aboard the MT Asteris illegal possession of 3,423 tons of crude oil.

The suspects were each convicted of four counts of illegally storing crude oil.

Each count carries five years in prison but the sentences run concurrently, meaning the nine face a maximum of five years jail.

Already, the Federal Government has taken ownership of the vessel.

Convictions for oil smuggling are common but in most cases the offenders get away with a fine.

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