Oil is the property of the Nigerian state. Most of it is produced through partnerships between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which is owned by the state, and private oil companies. Oil provides the Nigerian state with about 70 percent of its revenue and roughly 90 percent of its foreign exchange. President Muhammadu Buhari’s current national budget is expansionary, not least because of the struggle against Boko Haram. The budget is based on the production of 2.2 million barrels per day at $38 per barrel. He has also declined to officially devalue the national currency, the naira, which trades at an official rate of about 200 to the U.S. dollar and about 345 to the U.S. dollar on the black market.
On May 16, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Emmanuel Kachikwu reported in the lower house of parliament that oil production has fallen by almost 40 percent, from the budgeted 2.2 million barrels a day to 1.4 million. According to the Voice of America, Kachikwu said the loss is the result of “incessant attacks and disruption of production in the Niger delta." The “face” of the attacks on oil infrastructure is a group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA). Little is known about NDA, though it has some similarities with groups that attacked oil infrastructure from 2005 to 2009, until they were bought off by a government amnesty that included payoffs to leaders and retraining programs for militant foot soldiers. President Buhari has reduced the scope of amnesty payments.
President Buhari has moved vigorously against corruption, and is seeking the repatriation of stolen funds placed abroad. Nevertheless, his government, like its predecessors, is dependent on oil revenue. And the demands are great: definitively defeat Boko Haram and begin the reconstruction of the devastated northeast of the country.