Evidential Hurdles in the Prosecution of Crude Oil Thieves in Nigeria: Lessons From MT Anuket Emerald v. F.R.N (2017) LPELR-42326(CA)
Humberside Journal of Law & Soc. Sc Vol. 8(1), 2018
15 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2019
Date Written: November 19, 2018
In a report published by the famous United Kingdom’s Chatham House in 2013, Nigeria’s crude oil thieves are systematically upgrading their techniques and expanding their tentacles in one of the fastest growing global black-markets. Hence, the unlawful activities of the bandits are becoming a menace to the crude oil industrial sector of the country. In the same Chatham House report, it was the belief of the authors that, the illicit activities are backed by powerful private entities in Nigeria including “politicians, military officers, militants, oil industry personnel, oil traders, and organized criminal groups.” The report further indicated that: “Nigeria offers a strong enabling environment for the large-scale theft of crude oil. Corruption and fraud are rampant in the country’s oil sector. A dynamic, overcrowded political economy drives [the] competition for looted resources. Poor governance has encouraged violent opportunism around crude oil and opened doors for organized crime[s].” It is against the backdrop of the Chatham House report that this paper seeks to explore the complex issue of crude oil racketeering in Nigeria. Also, the paper argues that, the illicit crude oil banditry is being tackled by the Nigerian government though inefficiently. In furtherance of the discourse, the paper attempted to engage, in legal analysis of the recent case of MT Anuket Emerald v. FRN pin-pointing the critical issues of prosecution evidence which drives the cases of illicit crude oil transactions in the country. Despite the widespread nature of the menace, conviction rates are very marginal compared to the magnitude of the problem. The paper thus, attempts to unravel the nature and consequences of the laxity in the handling of cases of crude oil racketeering with regards to the admissibility of evidence illicitly obtained by the prosecutors.
Keywords: Oil, Gas, Criminality, Evidence, Prosecution, Nigeria
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