Why oil theft persists in the Niger Delta – Navy

By Amako Nneji August 15, 2015 16:34

Why oil theft persists in the Niger Delta – Navy

Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship, Delta State, Commodore Aliyu Sule, has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari might not be able to end oil theft in the Niger Delta region because of impunity and slow pace of adjudication responsible for the persisting illegal bunkering thriving in the region.

Sule said this during an interactive session with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Saturday afternoon and maintained that the process of trial of arrested suspects for oil theft was too slow and this encouraged the perpetrators to easily go back into the illicit act.

Buhari had part of an administrative roadmap promised to combat illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta.

During his four-day working visit to the United States of America, he told the world that Nigeria was losing more than 250, 000 barrels per day to oil theft. He posited that the resultant effect of the illegal act has contributed immensely to revenue leakages, which in turn affects the nation revenue.

Buhari also ordered the implementation of the cleaning up of Ogoni Land and the continuation of the Amnesty Programme for the ex-militant.

Speaking further, Sule recalled that cases of more than five ships apprehended by his command over stolen oil since 2005 were yet to be resolved in the courts.

    “It takes a longer time for justice to be done in matters of oil theft that is why the illicit business persists.

    “So suspects should be tried almost immediately and jailed,” he said.

Sule stressed the need for effective surveillance and speedy trial of oil thieves, saying these were germane in eradicating illegal bunkering in the region.

He disclosed his command had adopted a constant and effective surveillance of the hinterland from both land and air with a view to adequately comb the terrains.

He noted that the approach was yielding positive results.

    “We will continue to go after them until they desist from it,” he said.

Sule, who assumed leadership of the NNS Delta in April, is credited with destroying 28 illegal refineries and over 2,700 metric tons of crude oil in less than three months.

The exercise was carried out in three separate operations between June and August in Warri South and Warri South-West Local Government Areas of Delta.

Sule said in the recent operation in Kantu Forest on August 13 in Warri South-West, nine illegal refineries and over 700 metric tons of crude oil were destroyed.

He said three generating sets and five portable pumping machines were recovered in the raid.

It was the second time Kantu Forest would be invaded by the naval personnel to destroy illegal refineries in three weeks.

    “Again, my men raided Kantu forest and destroyed nine illegal refineries and about 700 metric tons of crude oil over a large expanse of land,’’ he said.

The Commander said the determination of the navy to combat illegal oil deal was in line with the Chief of Naval Staff’s zero tolerance on crude oil theft and other illegalities in the waterways.

He warned the perpetrators against the consequences of their actions warning that whoever is caught would face the full weight of the law.