Dakolo: Big Interest Groups Responsible for Continuous Oil Theft in Nigeria

Dakolo: Big Interest Groups Responsible for Continuous Oil Theft in Nigeria

Emma Okonji and Nosa Alekhuogie in Lagos

The Chairman, Bayelsa Traditional Rulers Council, Bubaraye Dakolo yesterday, argued that highly placed Nigerians with deep interest in oil exploration, were responsible for the continuous theft of the nation’s crude oil, and not the errand boys that were arrested.

Dakolo yesterday, accused the federal government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), for turning their eyes away from the real oil thieves and chasing shadows, in order to divert attention.

Dakolo, who spoke as a guest on the ‘Morning Show’ on Arise News Channels, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, faulted the recent destruction of MT Tura II oil vessel in Warri, Delta State that was arrested last week on the Nigerian coast with full loaded stolen crude oil.

According to him, apart from the monumental waste on the part of the government in the destruction of the fully loaded vessel with crude oil right inside the coast of Nigeria, both the oil and the vessel would contaminate the water and pose serious health hazards for the Niger Delta people who carry out fishing activities inside the water.  

He said this would be the second time the federal government would arrest and destroy oil vessel on the coast of the country, after the first destruction was carried out in 2022. He described the action as uncivilized, saying  it would lead to total destruction of the evidences that would have been used to prosecute the actual oil thieves in a competent court of law.

“It baffles me as a Nigerian that our law enforcement agencies do not know when large volume of crude oil is loaded into vessels from oil terminals, which takes days and weeks to load, and the vessel will be intercepted on the same Nigerian coast only after it has been fully loaded and sailing out of the coast.

“Nigeria has lost over 1.6 million barrels of crude oil, which amounts to well over $1 million, which is in billions of naira, to the recent oil vessel destruction. The 1.6 million barrels of crude that was destroyed with the vessel, is approximately what Nigeria produces in a day for the international market, and it was destroyed in such an uncivilised manner, thus bringing huge loss to Nigeria at a time when the country is in need of money,” Dakolo said.

He further said the NNPC staff members were supposed to know when the loading of the oil vessel was going on at the oil terminal, adding that law enforcement agencies are always positioned at loading bays, yet they would turn away their eyes from the real oil thieves and continue to chase shadows who are supposed to be errand boys for the real oil thieves.       

He called on the federal government to put a stop to oil vessel destruction, insisting that the effect of the destruction will poison the waters and kill people with strange diseases.

“The real oil thieves are those who have oil blocks and oil gulf, who have houses in Banana Island in Lagos, Asokoro area in Abuja, and also in the US, and in the UK. Such persons cannot pass the night in the creeks of the Niger Delta, but will be using errand boys to continue to steal our common wealth. Government knows who the real oil thieves are and should go after them. What they do is to find ways of releasing their errand boys after each arrest,” Dakola said. 

He alleged that the government deliberately destroyed the oil vessel, just to do away with proof of evidence in order to set the real oil thieves free from any complexities. 

Reacting to the development where the federal government uses private security agents who are not professionally trained to guard oil pipelines and the Nigerian waterways, Dakolo argued that Nigeria lost it the moment it started contracting the protection of oil wells and oil pipelines to private persons who have no business in government.

“The action of the government shows that it has lost confidence in security agents, but I will strongly advise the government to fix the Nigeria economy and make naira as strong as the dollar in order to deter people from vandalising oil pipes,” Dakolo further said. He therefore advised the government to equip the Customs, Navy, Airforce, and the Police and make them capable of doing their job effectively.

He said the government could stop oil theft if it actually wanted to do so and put an end to the game, but lamented that the government was not ready to end the game because those involved are still connected to the government.

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