Oil Theft: Niger Delta Group Writes Buhari over Alleged Complicity of Naval Personnel

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

A Niger Delta-based transparency group, known as the Coalition of Niger Delta Stakeholders Forum has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over the alleged complicity of the Nigerian Navy personnel in cases of crude oil theft, cases of gross misconduct and insubordination in their operations in the region.
According to the group, despite concerted efforts by the various newly engaged anti-crude oil surveillance contractors to counter cases of theft and pipeline vandalisation, some personnel of the Nigerian Navy in collusion with some individuals were allegedly engaging in illicit crude oil theft, trade, and pipeline vandalisation in the Niger Delta region,

The group, in the petition dated January 18, 2023, and addressed to the president claimed that the alleged activities of the accused Naval personnel was grossly impeding the efforts of the oil pipeline surveillance contractors.
The petition was signed by Engr. Dr. Akpan O. Essien, Chief Williams Erepatei, Barrister Adeleke S. Olubunmi, Engr. James Ipalibo, Dr. Mrs. Ejiro P. Obohvie, on behalf of the Coalition of Niger Delta Stakeholders Forum.

It stated, “we hereby submit this petition against the Nigeria Navy’s leadership for allegedly engaging in illicit crude oil theft, trade, and pipeline vandalisation in the Niger Delta region, and we also call for credible investigations against the leadership of the Nigeria Navy, on allegations of insubordination, the ft of our national resources and acts of treason.

“The fight against oil theft will be one of your greatest achievements and legacies. Mr. President, as the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, we must bring to your attention the progress made by the Group Managing Director of the NNPCL, Mallam Mele Kyari who should be commended for taking the bull by the Horne, even with threats to his life by the shadowy figures of the illicit oil trade.

“One of the biggest problems and obstacles to the success of the fight against pipeline vandalism and oil theft it seems comes from the very security institutions mandated to secure and guide our territorial waterways and government infrastructure, it is no surprise that the federal government withdrew the services of the Nigerian Civil Defence Force from protecting the national assets of pipeline infrastructure after much outcry backed with evidence of the collusion of the civil defence service and oil thieves in ripping the nation off.”

It added: “In a disturbing video and audio recordings gotten from our sources in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Nigerian Navy it seems are neck deep in the illicit trade of pipeline vandalisation and oil theft, after a vessel suspected with loaded stolen crude was apprehended by Tantita Security operatives on the 14 of January 2023, the Nigerian Navy it seems appeared from the blue to beat up and later interrogate the operatives of Tantita Security aboard the suspect vessel, all these happening even after Tantita Security operatives tried to explain and reason with the Navy about its now globally known mandate to fight illegal and stolen crude in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.”

“This gets even more embarrassing to think that President Buhari, as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces who also doubles as the substantive Minister of Petroleum is directly responsible for the chain of command of the Armed Forces and the operation against oil theft.”

Related Articles