The allegations made by ex-Niger Delta militant leader, Asari Dokubo, regarding the involvement of certain military cabals in oil theft in the region have been dismissed as baseless by the Nigerian Navy.
Dokubo voiced these claims during his visit to President Bola Tinubu in Abuja on Friday. Shortly after the accusations were made, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the Director of Naval Information, challenged Dokubo to provide the names of those implicated in such activities.
Ayo-Vaughan suggested that Dokubo’s accusations were an attempt to gain favor with President Tinubu, emphasizing that if he had concrete evidence of military personnel involved in crude oil theft, he should come forward with the names. The naval spokesperson conveyed this message during a telephone interview with Channels Television.
The Nigerian Navy highlighted its significant achievements in combating oil theft in the Niger Delta region through Operation Dakata da Barawo. One such accomplishment was the recent apprehension of an illegally-entered ship named Heroic Edun, leading to fines imposed on its owners as evidence of the Navy’s commitment to combating crude oil theft.
The spokesperson further enumerated the Navy’s accomplishments between April 1, 2022, and June 12, 2023, which included the arrest of 131 suspects and 17 vessels, the destruction of 519 illegal mining sites, deactivation of 4,261 storage tanks, the confiscation of 569 wooden boats, and the immobilization of 69 vehicles.
Additionally, the Navy’s efforts resulted in the prevention of over 116.9 million liters of crude oil, 45.1 million liters of refined diesel, 2.4 million liters of kerosene, and more than 372,000 liters of premium motor spirit from falling into the hands of oil thieves. The total value of these prevented losses is estimated at over N71.8 billion, based on current prices.
Ayo-Vaughan affirmed that the Nigerian Navy is actively engaged in the fight against crude oil theft and the protection of resources in the Niger Delta. Therefore, he urged anyone making claims about a cabal of military officers involved in such activities to present evidence and provide the names of those implicated. He concluded his statement by reiterating his stance on the matter.