Foremost pro-democracy and development group, known as Niger-Delta Development Initiative (NDDI), has given pastmark to the effort of the Nigerian Navy in its effort to get rid of oil bunkers and illegal oil merchants in the South South region.
The group specifically acknowledged the bravery of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla and his team in waging war against the age-long oil theft in the oil rich region.
According to a statement signed by Rev. Sam Smith Tonye, President of NDDI, before Mr. Ogalla came on board as Naval henchman, the proliferation of pirates and illegal oil merchants in Niger Delta had caused Nigeria’s Government a great fortune.
Rev. Tonye said, “the various efforts and machineries put in place by Ogalla in combating crimes and criminality around the seas and nation’s waterways can not be ignored”.
He added that, “the measures put in place to check the activities of those pirates and bunkers is seriously paying off”, saying, “the top merchants and their Abuja collaborators now know it’s no longer business as usual”.
The group also praised the Chief of Naval Staff “for helping to reduce to barest minimal level, incidents of oil theft in the Niger Delta”, as well as, “protecting the nation’s coastal waters from external enemies who come in to steal the nation’s wealth regularly”.
This, the group alluded, was far from what was the state of the oil rich region before the inauguration of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The statement argued that, the reign of Ogalla barely six months as CNS, has brought about improved changes in Niger Delta region.
Recall that President Tinubu appointed Mr. Ogalla as Chief of Naval Staff in June, 2023, few days after his inuaguration as President.
Also recall that, the House of Representatives, had in July, 2023, raised alarm over the incessant oil theft in Nigeria.
Though the Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the menace, but the committee was short-lived, even having made appreciable progress through revelations by various stakeholders.