The Nigerian Navy has reacted to Asari Dokubo’s oil theft accusation,
said the allegations made by the Niger Delta militants’ leader and former agitator, Asari Dokubo, were “spurious and unguarded”.
Reacting to the allegations, the spokesman of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, challenged Asari Dokubo to release names of officers responsible for crude oil theft.
Ayo-Vaughan spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.
Ayo-Vaughan said the Nigerian military, and the navy in particular, had been at the forefront of fighting crude oil theft at all levels in the country.
He said while crude oil stolen from pipelines is refined in the creeks for the local market and the local buyers, it was also being stolen by criminals from offshore at sea.
You remember the case of MT HEROIC IDUN that was made to pay fines to the Nigerian government after they were arrested and brought back from Guinea Bissau, Malabo Island and made to face court orders.
“It demonstrated the will of the Navy to go as far as even beyond our waters to arrest a ship that attempted to load without a license, without due approval in April last year.
“I was there physically on board one of our ships at FOT in Onne when the navy launched Operation Dakatarda Barawo, which means stop the thief in Hausa language.
“Stop the thief that is stealing the nation’s natural resources, the hydrocarbons.
“Nigerian Navy has been fighting crude oil theft, taking the fight to the creeks and as I speak to you, our men are battling in the creeks.
So, what I will just say is, Asari Dokubo is seeking some form of relevance and whatever.
“He 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.
“You cannot make such spurious allegations and think that we will just sweep it down the carpet,” he said.
Ayo-Vaughan said neither the Chief of Defense Staff nor the Chief of Naval Staff will condone such.
According to him, the Nigerian navy will not be distracted by the allegations and will continue to be actively involved in the fight against crude oil theft and resources in the Niger Delta.
“So for anybody to say that there is a cabal of military officers, the only simple thing to do is bring the evidence, bring the names,” he stressed.
The Navy spokesman said efforts of the Nigerian military in the Niger Delta were the reason Nigeria regained the top spot in oil production in May among oil-producing countries in Africa, as confirmed by OPEC, NUPRC and others.