Military Pushes Back, Denies Involvement in Oil Theft

*Terror arms supplier, intelligence agent arrested in Abuja 

*Three Chibok girls rescued, 556 terrorists surrender, 52 killed

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

Coming on the heels of the commencement of rallies by oil workers to protest against the massive theft of crude oil and destruction of oil assets in the Niger Delta region, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) declared yesterday that the military establishment was not involved in oil theft.

The denial followed allegations that some military personnel and security agencies were involved in oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the region.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, the Director Defence Information (DDI), Maj. Gen. Jimmy Akpor, said the allegations were unfounded.

He spoke as a suspected foreign logistic supplier and arms dealer to terror groups, Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) named Mallam Abatcha Bukar, was arrested with assorted injections, two Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards and the sum of N294,520.00, even as troops arrested a Boko Haram intelligence agent on its wanted list in Asokoro, Abuja while another arms dealer was also apprehended in Zamfara State in the past two weeks.
Akpor said major stakeholders in the oil and gas industry understood the workings of the industry, saying it was unfair to drag the military into the activities of the criminals.

“The military is not involved in oil theft. They are working to safeguard oil and assets but if they are compromised, they will face the music.
“Who are the stakeholders? Government, the oil communities, oil companies, security agencies, military and others, not just the military,” he said.
“Holding soldiers accountable where many stakeholders are involved is only making them a cannon fodder.
“In spite of all the difficulties we face, we are doing our best,” he said.

Taking a similar position, the Director, Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Maj Gen
Musa Danmadami, stated that, “there was no justification to say that soldiers are involved. If you are fighting corruption, corruption will fight back.”
In his remarks at the briefing to review military operations in the past two weeks, spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the armed forces would not be able to solve the problem alone in view of the fact that kinetic operations would solve 20 per cent of the challenge while the rest 80 per cent is left for other stakeholders.

Continuing, Danmadami disclosed that N1.2 billion was denied oil thieves by the military within the period.
Danmadami said while the sum of N664.8 million worth of crude oil was seized from the criminals, N546.7 million worth of diesel, N12.2 million worth of Kerosene and N11.8 million worth of petroleum products were also impounded.

He said the troops of Operation Delta Safe in conjunction with the Department of State Security (DSS) had continued to conduct kinetic operations to deny criminal elements freedom of action.

Danmadami said the intervention was essential in sustaining conducive environment for economic activities to thrive in the zone.

“Also, troops of Operation Delta Safe discovered and destroyed 67 illegal refining sites, 11 wooden boats, 218 storage tanks, 168 cooking ovens, and 61 dugout pits within the period under review.

“Troops also recovered 2.07 million litres of crude oil, 706,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 15,500 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) and 67,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

“Eight trucks, three pumping machines, three outboard engines and three generators were also recovered, while five pipelines vandals were also arrested.

“All recovered items were handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” he said.

On the fight against terrorism in the north-east, he said that no fewer than 556 terrorists and their families surrendered to troops of Operation Hadin Kai in two weeks.

“Troops of Operation Hadin Kai conducted operational activities at the fringes of various villages and communities in Kukawa, Dikwa, Bama, Kaga, Monguno, Guzamala, Konduga, Gwoza and Mafa Local Government Areas all in Borno State as well as Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State.

“During the operations, troops neutralised 52 suspected fighters of Boko Haram and fighters of Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) Province and arrested 14 terrorists,” he said.

“Troops also, recovered two unexploded grenades, 12 AK47 rifles, three FN rifles, five AK47 magazines, one automatic grenade launcher, one hand grenade, one AP mine, 86 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, one motorcycle, 16 bows and arrows, seven bicycles and 10 mobile phones.

“Furthermore, troops also rescued three abducted Chibok girls named Jinkai Yama, Falmata Lawal and Asabe Ali, who were on serial 3, 20 and 24 of the abducted Chibok girl’s list. They were rescued at different locations with their children and 19 other abductees”, he said.

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