Military, Asari Dokubo On Warpath Over Allegations Of Oil Theft


It appeared yesterday that the Nigerian military may be lurching towards an angry showdown with former Niger Delta militant leader, Asari Dokubo, over his allegations that 99 percent of oil theft and bunkering in the Niger Delta region are being carried out by the armed Forces, particularly the Army and the Navy.

While the Defence Headquarters and the Nigerian Army are yet to react to Dokubo’s indictment, the Nigerian Navy has asked the ex-militant leady to be ready to substantiate his claims of military officers’ involvement in crude oil theft with names and other facts.

Dokubo made the weighty allegations against the military yesterday while addressing State House correspondents after meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He alleged that the Army and the Navy intimidate operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) who, by status, are the ones mandated to guard the oil pipelines.

The allegations are coming two weeks after Tinubu ordered Service Chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies to “crush” perpetrators of oil theft, saying his administration would not tolerate the menace.

Speaking during his maiden official meeting with the Service Chiefs and intelligence heads penultimate Thursday at the presidential villa, the president had also warned that, insecurity would not bring Nigeria to her knees on his watch, while other countries are busy recording achievements in key sectors of their economies.

Speaking with journalists yesterday in Aso Rock after his meeting with President Tinubu, Dokubo alleged that there are notorious naval commanders who are known to be kingpins of oil theft and bunkering activities.

He said even if one billion contracts are awarded to everybody in the Niger Delta to stop oil theft and bunkering, it would not work because of kingpins who are fully armed by the Army and the Navy.

He noted that he has volunteered to end the menace knowing that he will be fully protected by the Tinubu administration.

Dokubo said, “The Army and the Navy intimidate the Civil Defense who are, by status, the people who are supposed to guard these pipelines. They receive a lot of money from NNPC, PCL and the IOCs and just across the corner, you will see a Houseboat; a few meters from the House boat, you will see an oil bunkering refinery tapping directly from oil well ends.

“It is very pathetic now. What is happening in the Niger Delta in the past eight years was unprecedented in the history of oil production anywhere in the world.

“The vandals do not only attack the pipelines; they have migrated from the pipelines and have gone directly to the oil well heads and they take directly from the oil well heads. They set up haphazard facilities they call local refineries and artisan refineries. This is a crime against humanity because the livelihood of the people is being totally destroyed.

“And every meter you see a naval houseboat or an army house boat stationed. So, the main culprits are the Army and the Navy. And there are notorious naval commanders who are known to be kingpins of these bunkering activities.

“Even if they give one billion contracts to everybody in the Niger Delta, because these military men are armed from the Army and the Navy nothing will happen.”

Dokubo further hinted that because President Tinubu has promised to take decisive action to end oil theft, he has volunteered to assist.

He continued: “The President has promised to take decisive action to make sure that this does not continue and that it is brought to an end. It is very shameful.

“So, I had volunteered to help, to assist and to do the things that are necessary to put a stop to this evil that is being perpetrated against the people of the Niger Delta, the oil community and the whole of Nigerians.”

Dokubo also alleged that it is an act of blackmail for the military to say that they have insufficient armaments to deal with insecurity when they are forfeiting their weapons to insurgents.

According to him, while this has continued to fuel the insurgency,

Nigeria is currently going through a full-scale war in different parts of the country.

He added that he has continued to render mercenary services to the federal government to keep all parts of the country safe for citizens to be able to travel and go about their businesses safely

He stated: “On security, I want to clearly say that there are full scale wars going on in different parts of this country. In the South East, the IPOB/ESN is waging a full-scale war against the government of this country and many local governments, many communities are deserted, schools are closed, and hospitals are closed.

“In the same vein, in Niger, in Zamfara, in Plateau, in Kaduna, in Yobe and Borno, we are only talking about Boko Haram. Boko Haram is just a tip of the iceberg. There’s a full-scale war going on and the blackmail of the Nigerian state by the Nigerian military is shameful. They said they do not have enough armament and people listen to this false narrative. They are lying. They are liars. I repeat, they are liars because I’m a participant.

“I am a participant in this war. I fight on the side of the government of the Nigerian State in Plateau, in Niger, in Anambra, in Imo, in Abia and in Rivers States and in Abuja. Today you’re travelling to Kaduna on this road; it is not the army that makes it possible for you to travel to Abuja, or travel to Kaduna, vice versa. It is my men, employed by the government of the Nigerian State stationed in Niger.

“Today you travel to Baga, you go to Shiroro, you go to Wase. We have lost so many men in all these engagements. We don’t even have 1 percent of the armament deployed by the Nigerian military and we have had resounding success. So, this blackmail must end. They have enough resources to fight. Instead of fighting, they are busy stealing; they are busy making the government to spend unnecessarily”.

Dokubo also called for the prosecution of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, arguing that his release would fuel impunity.

“During EndSars, Nnamdi Kanu was walking free. What did he do? He poured petrol on the flames of EndSars. Now, he has been caught. What of the people who have died? This is a criminal. He should face the law.

“Releasing Nnamdi Kanu is rewarding criminality and rewarding gruesome murder of innocent people. He should face the law for the actions and instigations he has carried out”, he added.

Be Ready To Substantiate Your Claims With Facts, Names, Navy Fires Back
But in a swift reaction, the Nigerian Navy yesterday challenged Asari Dokubo to substantiate his claims of military officers’ involvement in crude oil theft with names and other facts.

The director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, said the Nigerian Navy has seized crude oil products worth over N70 billion from illegal artisanal refineries run by the Niger Deltans.

He said, “In April last year, because of the fall in revenue to government as a result of heightened oil theft, the Nigerian Navy activated operation Dakata Da Baro which is still running up till now and even before then, there has been operation Delta Safe which is a Defence Headquarters’ operations led by a Nigerian Navy Rear Admiral.

“The Navy has demonstrated every will to stop crude oil theft and it was actually brought to a minimal level in the Niger Delta because the Niger Deltans are the ones that vandalise pipelines. They siphon oil; they have artisans; they have illegal artisans’ refineries and we’ve gone after them. As we speak now we have seized to the tune of more than N70 billion worth of crude oil/finished products from those refineries.

“So a lot has been going on and I will only say that it is most unfortunate that such spurious, unguarded utterances can be made. What the Navy has been doing is enormous and it is only required at this stage that such allegations should be substantiated with names and facts.”


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