Navy to prosecute officials involved in oil theft
THE Nigerian Navy yesterday declared total war against oil theft, warning that any naval personnel assisting or participating in the theft would be arrested and prosecuted.
The new Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral. Atiku Abdulkadir who gave the warning during an inspection tour of naval formations and units in Onne, Rivers State, said there won’t be any hiding place for any personnel found wanting.
Abdulkadir, who stressed that the navy was doing everything possible to detect officers and ratings involved in corrupt practices, said: “We must take cognizance of the fact that in every environment, there are likely to be a few bad eggs and as such, the navy is currently taking measures to spot corrupt officials.
“If we find any of our personnel assisting or participating in oil theft, we are going to arrest and prosecute the offender and there won’t be a hiding place for such a person,” he added.
The FOC also disclosed that the Navy has adopted community intelligence and policing strategy to effectively fight oil theft, sea piracy and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
He noted that illegal bunkering activities had negative impact on the nation’s economy and as such, the navy must “dominate the creeks and waterways” to end oil theft.
“The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibom-Ete Ibas has continuously stressed on discipline of troops to fight criminality on the nation’s maritime environment to a standstill.
“Hence, we will maintain 24-hour presence at sea and waterways to deter pirates and thieves while making substantial arrests to discourage illegalities we see from time to time at sea.
“We are going to dominate the creeks through effective information gathering from maritime users and from local community dwellers,” he said.
Abdulkadir said that operational bases and ‘choke points’ had been created at the creeks to make it near-impossible for oil thieves to transport their loot without being spotted by troops.
He said the navy has embarked on training and retraining of personnel while also improving on welfare to boost personnel morale in the fight against oil theft.