The Nigerian Navy has challenged a Niger Delta militants’ leader and former agitator, Asari Dokubo, to produce the names of officers involved in crude oil theft.
Dokubo, had on Friday, alleged that the bulk cases of oil theft recorded in the oil-rich region were traceable to the Nigerian Army and Navy.
He said this while briefing State House reporters after meeting President Bola Tinubu behind closed-doors at the Aso Rock Villa.
“The military is at the centre of oil theft and we have to make this very clear to the Nigerian public that 99 per cent of oil theft can be traced to the Nigerian military, the Army and the Navy especially,” Dokubo had said.
But the spokesman of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, described the allegation as “spurious and unguarded”.
He said oil thieves were angry because troops of Nigerian Navy and entire military have continued to deny them avenues to sabotage economy through ongoing “Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO”.
He maintained that the maritime armed force in collaboration with relevant stakeholders would continue to deny crude oil thieves avenues to sabotage Nigeria’s economy.
Ayo-Vaughan, in an interview with Daily Trust, said “Let him bring the names. The Nigerian Navy is interested in the names of those involved because the Navy has no tolerance for any form of criminalities whatsoever, not even that height of theft as alleged by Asari Dokubo.
“The Navy has an operation in the Niger-Delta that has been running for over one year plus to curb oil theft. Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO has denied oil thieves more than N76billion worth of crude oil. The money that would have helped them to further increase their illegal artisanal refineries.
“So, the Navy is actively fighting oil theft. For anybody to make such spurious allegations, bring the names. He (Dokubo) is in the Niger Delta, he has boys in the Niger Delta.
“The company that was given a contract by the NNPC on pipeline surveillance, they are working with the Nigerian Navy and Operation Delta Safe in the Niger-Delta to curb oil theft.
“For somebody to just make such unguarded statement, bring the names. You know that there is an operation (Operation DAKATA BARAWO) going on in the Niger Delta being run by the Nigerian Navy since April last year. The Navy has been running it in synergy with the NNPC.
“NNPC holds regular meetings with the Chief of Naval Staff to review the operations. Just last week, the Chief Executive of NUPREC was here to have a meeting with CNS. Just two days ago, the management team for the other one on downstream regulatory authority were also here to have a meeting. For us, if you want to make such spurious allegations, bring the names. Simple.”