Nigeria Charges 10 Indians, 12 Others With Oil Theft

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Nigerian prosecutors said 22 people, including 10 Indian nationals, were charged to court in the southern city of Yenagoa for alleged oil theft.

The suspects charged yesterday include 12 Nigerians and were arrested on two vessels by a navy patrol along Akassa River in the southern oil region in November, Wilson Uwujaren, a spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, said today by phone from Abuja, the capital. The vessels were found to contain 157,822 liters or 993 barrels of crude, he said.

All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to Uwujaren. Presiding Judge Charles Archibong ruled that the suspects must remain in prison custody until the next court session on Feb. 19.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, loses an estimated 250,000 barrels a day to crude theft, according to a report on the oil industry prepared for President Goodluck Jonathan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at ebalagbogbo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net