Leading Civil Rights Advocacy body:-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take a transparent, accountable and open stand against crude oil thieves in the military.
Besides, the Rights group has asked the Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla to stop antagonising the patriotic work of the private maritime security firm headed by Government Ekpemopolo hired by the President of Nigeria to catch crude oil thieves.
HURIWA has asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to act decisively and ”cut off the heads of the snake” within the military institution in Nigeria who are the suspected conspirators with crude oil thieves who operate as a cartel.
“The silence of President Tinubu for over 48 hours since some Naval officers were intercepted by a private security company escorting a ship conveying massive amounts of stolen crude oil in the Niger Delta is offensive. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can no longer enjoy the luxury of being lackadaisical or lukewarm towards conquering the powerful cartel lootingbour crude oil resources and creating environmental damage to the environment of the crude oil producing communities and depriving Nigeria of humongous foreign generated revenue.”
Specifically, Nigeria has lost an opportunity to produce and sell about 65,700,000 barrels of oil in the last one year due to issues concerning pipeline vandalism and the resultant oil theft. This, HURIWA found out, translates to about N2.3tn loss in oil revenue if the prevailing exchange rate and average oil price are used.
The Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, Dr Osagie Okubor, said at the just concluded Nigerian International Energy Summit held in Abuja, said the 180, 000 barrels per day Trans Niger Pipeline had remained shut for more than one year- March 2022 to March 2023.
The loss from March last year to March this year brings total shut in/loss to about 65, 700, 000 barrels. Brent crude price averaged about $83 per barrel from March 2022 to March 2023, meaning the country could have lost as much as N2.3tr to the menace, the Crude oil chief maintained.
HURUWA recalled that the Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, TSSNL, a private security company, engaged by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPCL, laid bare, few hours back, a clever plot by the Nigerian Navy to hoodwink Nigerians over the arrest of a vessel, escorted by naval personnel, for alleged oil bunkering in Delta State.
Operatives of TSSNL, operated by ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, reportedly acting on intelligence, tracked down the vessel, MT PRAISEL, loaded with 8,100 liters of suspected crude oil on the waterways of Koko, Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State.
HURIWA which accused the Naval authority in Abuja of a grandscale of cover up, lambasted the hierarchy of the Navy for behaving like persons who are actively preventing the execution of the clear and unambiguous mandate of the Presidency which awarded the security contract to that reputable maritime security behemoth headed by the erstwhile Niger Delta militants leader Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo.
HURIWA quoted the Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, as disputing the involvement of the vessel in oil bunkering, said, “The attention of the Naval Headquarters has been drawn to publications and news reports in the media on the arrest of Motor Tanker (MT) PRAISEL by a private security outfit, Tantita Security Service Limited (TSSL) for suspected illegal oil bunkering.”
HURIWA is therefore charging the Federal Government to take coherent, concrete, transparent and accountable measures to investigate the officers caught escorting crude oil thieves just as the Government needs to set up an independent judicial commission of investigation to probe the allegations of involvement of military Generals in the deadly crude oil criminal networks just as the Rights group commended Tompolo for working tirelessly to catch crude oil thieves.