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US Envoy says Nigeria loses $1.5 billion monthly to sea pirates, fuel fraud

Sison said a comprehensive approach would help to reduce the loss of national revenue, support socioeconomic development and expand environmental protection in the region.

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According to a US official, Nigeria is losing about 1.5 billion dollars a month to piracy, armed robbery at sea, smuggling, and fuel supply fraud.

Amb. Michele Sison, a U.S. Deputy Representative to the UN, made the declaration in New York at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Peace Consolidation in West Africa with the theme “Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea in the Gulf of Guinea.’’

The diplomat said illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing also generate a sizeable income loss running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year, for many countries and communities that depend on this sector to survive.

She revealed that earlier last month on April 11 at 7.56 p.m., pirates attacked a cargo vessel off the coast of Nigeria.

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“The captain and crew sounded the alarm and hid in a protected space on the ship only to discover when they emerged the following day that two of their crew were missing. A second officer from the Philippines and an electrician from Egypt; both are still missing.

“This was neither the first pirate attack of the year, nor even the first attack that day. Earlier on April 11, the very same day, pirates had attacked a Turkish cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria, kidnapping six of the crew, including the vessel’s captain.

“Those men are also still missing. Piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea are increasing at an alarming rate, with some industry experts recording at least 32 attacks off the coast of Nigeria alone in 2016, affecting many Member States, including the U.S.

“The economic consequences for the people of the region are devastating. According to a Chatham House report, as much as 400,000 barrels of crude oil are stolen each day in the Gulf of Guinea,’’ she said.

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Sison said a comprehensive approach would help to reduce the loss of national revenue, support socioeconomic development and expand environmental protection in the region, according to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek report.

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