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Government begins tracking of oil, EFCC to monitor vessels



To check the irregularities in the oil and gas sector, the Federal Government yesterday said it had begun tracking of crude oil nationwide.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, said collaboration was being fine-tuned to enable the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) monitor all vessels lifting crude oil from the country.

The minister, who promised 24 months ago that the initiative would begin this year, said the move was to allow for transparency and probity in the industry.Admitting that there were lapses in the crude oil lifting process, Kachikwu noted that the requisite capacity to monitor vessels operating in the country had been made available.

His words: “For the first time, we know what we are producing in this country. As to when it is being produced, barrel to barrel, we can tell. We can see even monitor vessels that are coming into Nigeria and their activities. We have seen some vessels go to a location and pick some cargoes, leave that point, go to another point, pick something else and return to the first location when they should be heading to Port Novo or the United States.

“What we are trying to do with the EFCC is to gather data and track these vessels and determine the owners and many more.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy has handed over 19 suspects and two boats laden with petroleum products to the EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The anti-graft agency’s acting spokesman, Tony Orilade, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, named the suspects to include Ayeni John; Adetini Ademola; Saliu Malik; Emmanuel Tosu; Emopin Moneyin; Malade Aiyetimiyi; Oduroja Ojune; Ikudehinbu Idowu; Abogun Ota; Elamah Augustine and Olarotimi Elikanah. Others are Thank-God Benjamin; Abbas Friday; Victor Goldsmith; Gbenga Thomas; Ibane Austin; Idowu Surprise; Asemia Thomas and Agbayoh Lawrence.

He said the suspects were arrested on August 30, 2018 in Lagos and parts of Ondo State while illegally dealing in petroleum products sourced from an hijacked vessel, MT MAMA ELIZABETH.

According to the spokesman, N3.5 million, suspected to be proceeds from the illicit business, was found on the suspects.An investigator with the EFCC, Idris Abdullahi Abubakar, who received the suspects and the boats, promised due diligence.

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