The Nigerian Navy has described as spurious, claims made by the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force Asari Dokubo that some top military officials are responsible for the oil theft in the region.
Dokubo, founder of the Ijaw Youth Council, disclosed to the press the extent of oil theft and its perpetuators after his visit to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Abuja on Friday.
Hours after Dokubo made the revelation, Commodore Adedoyun Ayo-Vauguan, the Director of Naval Information, described his claims as spurious and an attempt to gain unwarranted favour of the president, challenging him to name those officials involved in such a treacherous act.
“If Asari Dokubo is seeking some form of relevance and alleges that there is a cabal of military people that are involved in crude oil theft, let him bring the names. Nobody is afraid of getting the names of those involved in crude oil theft,” the naval spokesman said in a phone conversation with Channels Television.
Commodore Ayo-Vauguan had in the phone conversation listed some of the achievements of the Nigerian Navy’s special operation named Operation Dakata da Barawo, especially as it concerns its fight against oil theft in the region.
According to the Navy spokesman, the recent arrest of Heroic Edun, an oil tanker vessel that illegally entered Nigeria, and the court fines imposed on the owners of the ship are clear evidence of the Nigerian Navy’s uncompromised desire to deal with crude oil theft in the region that has caused the country millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Other achievements listed by Commodore Ayo-Vauguan were the arrest of 131 suspects, the demobilization of 17 vessels, the deactivation of 4,261 storage tanks with 569 wooden boats, the destruction of 519 illegal mining sites, and the demobilization of 69 vehicles.
He noted that through collaborative ventures, the Navy has eliminated massive oil theft that was denying the country much-needed revenue. For example, thieves have been denied over 116.9 million litres of crude oil, 45.1 million litres of refined diesel, and 2.4 million litres of kerosene as well as over 372,000 litres of premium motor spirit, all worth more than N71.8 billion based on the current prices.
“The Nigerian Navy is actively involved in the fight against crude oil theft and the resources in the Niger Delta. So, for anybody to say that there is a cabal of military officers, the only simple thing is to bring the evidence, bring the names. I rest my case,” Ayo-Vaughan said.