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Nigeria lost $2.8bn to maritime crimes in 2018, UN report says

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The office of the Secretary-General’s of the United Nations has revealed in a report that Nigeria lost estimated revenue of $2.8bn in 2018, as a result of crude oil and maritime crimes.

It disclosed that maritime crimes, including piracy, dominated in the coast of West Africa and posed a big threat to peace and development in the region. The report also noted a rise in the drug trade in the region.

“Maritime crime and piracy off the coast of West Africa continued to pose a threat to peace, security and development in the region,” the report read.

“Oil-related crimes resulted in the loss of nearly $2.8bn dollars in revenues last year in Nigeria, according to government figures.”

The report noted that between January 1 and November 23, there were 82 reported incidents of maritime crime and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

It also added that in the Republic of Benin, the Gambia and Nigeria, more than 50 kilogrammes of cocaine were seized between July and October by joint airport interdiction task forces.

Read also: Senegal seeks Nigeria’s assistance to develop petroleum sector

“During the same period, joint airport interdiction task forces seized more than six kilogrammes of methamphetamines, eight kilogrammes of heroin (double the amount in the first half of 2018) and 2.6 tonnes of cannabis.

“Drug production across the region was also reportedly on the rise, with more than 100 kilogrammes of ephedrine and phenacetin seized by competent authorities.’’

The report is coming on the heels of concerns raised in April by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau that warned of the surge in armed attacks against ships around West Africa, and said that the attacks were pushing up global levels of piracy and armed robbery at sea.

The IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 66 incidents in the first quarter of 2018, up from 43 for the same period in 2017, and 37 in Q1 2016.

The Bureau’s report noted that in the first three months of 2018, 100 crew were taken a hostage and 14 kidnapped from their vessels. A total of 39 vessels were boarded, 11 fired upon and four vessels hijacked. IMB received a further 12 reports of attempted attacks.

Expressing fears of similar future incidents, the Bureau also  reported that in the first nine months of 2018, a total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported,  compared to 121 for the same period in 2017.

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