The Nigerian Navy has denounced several media campaigns aimed at casting aspersions on the Navy as anti patriotic by engaging in crude oil theft and oil bunkering activities.

In a statement signed by the Director Of Naval Information, Rear Admiral AO Ayo- Vaughan, he strongly condemned the malicious campaign that was misleading the general public to believe that the efforts of the officers and personnel of the Nigerian Navy were anti-patriotic and aimed at economic sabotage. In the statement, he said

“The attention of the Naval Headquarters has been drawn to the untoward activities of some desperate individuals/organizations engaged in sponsoring of fraudulent and unsubstantiated publications in some mainstream media and online news platforms against the ongoing effort of the Nigerian Navy (NN) towards eradicating the menace of crude oil theft and other forms of illegalities in the Nation’s maritime domain.”

“It has been observed that their modus operandi includes sourcing the services of third-party agents/sectional egoists to discredit the reinvigorated stance of the NN in the fight against crude oil theft. Ordinarily, the NN would not have responded to such baseless assertions, but it has become necessary in order to prevent gullible members of the public from being misinformed by the erroneous publications.”

“Suffice to state that the NN in the discharge of her statutory responsibilities as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will continue to work tirelessly for the betterment of the nation’s maritime security.”

“It is on record that the NN has always worked harmoniously with all maritime stakeholders nationally, regionally and internationally. The coming onboard of Private Maritime stakeholders for the protection of critical onshore economic assets in the sole interest of the nation’s economy is a known development provided professionalism and Standard Operating Procedures are upheld strictly. Hence, it is complete fallacy to allege to the contrary via sponsored ill-conceived and uncorroborated publications.”

“Evidently, the NN as the Lead Agency for the security of Nigeria’s Maritime Environment has been in the forefront of galvanizing legitimate maritime stakeholders for the collective fight against crude oil theft and to secure our national economy assets. This is obvious with the various past and ongoing operations and exercises designed to curb maritime criminalities and particularly oil theft. Some of these operations are: Operation DAKAR TA DABARWO, Operation CALM WATERS, Operation NCHEKWE OSHIMILI and Exercise SEA GUARDIAN among others.”

“Pertinently, NN operations against crude oil theft in 2023 effected the arrest of 23 ships, over 233 suspects, 690 wooden boats with stolen crude oil and products while over 703 illegal refining sites were destroyed. Also, tens of barges, 82 vehicles and tanker trucks were arrested and crude oil and Petroleum products amounting to over N105 billion were confiscated and denied oil thieves. Appropriate prosecuting agencies are in custody of all arrested suspects and the fight against crude oil theft is ongoing with renewed vigour in year 2024.”

“It is not surprising therefore that these ignorant publications aimed at distracting the Navy are obviously sponsored by the soon-to-be-arrested criminals involved in oil theft who are feeling the impact of the Nigerian Navy’s renewed fight towards eradicating the menace of oil theft. The Navy’s effort has been visible leading to increase in oil production in the last 6 months as rightly reported by relevant authorities and the media.”

“The Navy under the able and focused leadership of Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla will not be deterred by the malicious and misguided propaganda in the media. The sponsored campaigns of calumny will not deter the NN from carrying out her constitutional enshrined roles in the interest of National economy. Accordingly, members of the public are enjoined to jettison the highly unpatriotic publications.”

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