a very nigerian affair

The BBC reports that the Nigerian state owned oil company (NNPC) is insolvent, with a US $ 5 billion debt. Most of the money ($ 3b) is owed to the Federation Account a lootable cash cow that distributes money to different levels of government within the Nigerian state. The country is divided into 36 states (and one federal capital territory, Abuja) and 774 local governments, all of which have legally guaranteed claims to oil revenues.

The report also notes that: Despite Nigeria being a major crude oil producer, it must buy almost all the oil it uses on the international market because its own refineries are insufficient and dilapidated.

Recently the Nigerian government signed a deal with the Chinese that hopefully will result in the construction of an $ 8 billion refinery in Lagos to ease the country’s dependence on imported petroleum products. 80% of the cash will come from the Chinese and 20% from the Nigerians.

No prizes for guessing why on earth A LEADING INTERNATIONAL OIL EXPORTER should import almost all of its petroleum products or why it took so long for the Nigerian leadership to start thinking of expanding Nigeria’s refinery capacity…

Achebe’s assessment of the Nigerian condition in the early 1980s still rings true: “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.

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