The Nigerian Navy (NN), has challenged the shadowy organization operating under the umbrella of Domestic Refineries Owners Association of Nigeria (DROAN), to support its allegations against the Service as published in some national dailies with facts.
Recall that some dailies earlier in the week ran stories with the following caption, “How Nigerian Navy aids crude oil theft, herders’ invasion,” quoting the aforesaid organization as the source.
According to the story, “The boom in crude oil theft and illegal refineries in the Niger Delta creeks have been attributed to the alleged collusion of Nigerian Navy personnel with criminal elements who perpetrate the sabotage on the nation’s economy.
“Investigations revealed that some of the illegal refineries are allegedly owned by Navy personnel who run them by proxy.
“The inability to end crude oil theft and illegal bunkering is also linked to the roles of these corrupt personnel who compromise the genuine efforts by security operatives to check all forms of criminality in the Maritime domain.
“According to reliable sources, security operatives may not be able to end crude oil theft and illegal bunkering, which they said “is a huge business” in the Niger Delta creeks, “those who are supposed to fight the crime are those albeit it”.
“The sources added further that, “the operators of illegal refineries pay heavy amounts of money to the Navy personnel to allow them to operate. They only destroy the refining sites when they have a misunderstanding about payments or when a new officer takes charge and wants to impress his superiors but after a while, he will also join the business”.
“Also corroborating this claim, the Domestic Refineries Owners Association of Nigeria, an umbrella body of private refineries operators, said they ‘settle’ (pay) the Navy Personnel on weekly or monthly depending on the agreement.
“A member of the Association, who didn’t want to be mentioned for obvious security reasons, disclosed further that some of the Navy Personnel who they work with, also own their own refining sites which are operated on their behalf”.
However, the Nigerian Navy in a statement signed by Naval Spokesperson, Commodore Suleman Dahun insisted that the story is speculative and not balanced.
The Service encourages anyone with useful information regarding criminals operating in Nigeria’s maritime environment or those aiding and abetting them, to please oblige the Service such information.
The statement also reiterated the Nigerian Navy’s position on zero tolerance for economic sabotage, isolated cases of personnel complicity in illegal acts as well as its resolve to fight all forms of criminal activities in the nation’s maritime domain.
Commodore Dahun said that information so received and the informants are assured of utmost confidentiality in handling.
According to the statement, “The attention of the Nigerian Navy has been drawn to a news report in some newspapers captioned ‘How Nigerian Navy Aids Crude Oil Theft, Herders’ Invasion’. While the report is largely speculative, lacking in facts and substance and one-sided, the Nigerian Navy notes the attempt to substantiate and legitimize the allegations contained therein by quoting an unnamed official of an organization called Domestic Refineries Owners Association of Nigeria, who made grave allegations of complicity against Nigerian Navy personnel”.
The statement further said that as a responsible Service, the Nigerian Navy intends to invite members of the purported organization to assist in identifying the NN personnel who receive bribes to facilitate the alleged unpatriotic acts of economic sabotage
The Nigerian Navy also enjoined the media to endeavour to verify the information sourced from other stakeholders in the maritime industry with the Naval Headquarters
especially those that pertain to maritime security.
While thanking the public for its continuous support and cooperation, the Nigerian Navy
assures its commitment to the general security and economic prosperity of the nation.