The Nigerian Navy has described as spurious the allegations by ex-Niger Delta militant leader, Asari Dokubo, that some cabals in the military are involved in oil theft in the region.
Dokubo made the claims when he visited President Bola Tinubu in Abuja on Friday.
Hours after the accusation, the Director of Naval Information, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, challenged Dokubo to name those involved in such an act.
He claimed that the Niger Delta leader is only trying to court the favour of President Tinubu with such allegations.
“If Asari Dokubo is seeking some form of relevance and alleges that there is a cabal of military people that are involved in crude oil theft, let him bring the names. Nobody is afraid of getting the names of those involved in crude oil theft,” the Naval spokesman told Channels Television on the phone.
According to him, the Nigerian Navy has through its Operation Dakata da Barawo recorded tremendous successes in the fight against oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
He cited the recent arrest of a ship, Heroic Edun, that entered Nigeria illegally and the court fines imposed on the owners of the ship as evidence of the Nigerian Navy’s desire to combat crude oil theft.
The spokesman further listed other achievements of the Nigerian Navy – recorded between April 1, 2022, and June 12, 2023 – to include the arrest of 131 suspects, 17 vessels, destruction of 519 illegal mining sites, deactivation of 4,261 storage tanks with 569 wooden boats and demobilisation of 69 vehicles.
He noted that through the efforts of the Navy, oil thieves were denied over 116.9 million litres of crude oil, 45.1 million litres of refined diesel, and 2.4 million litres of kerosene as well as over 372,000 litres of premium motor spirit, all worth more than N71.8 billion based on the current prices.
“The Nigerian Navy is actively involved in the fight against crude oil theft and the resources in the Niger Delta. So, for anybody to say that there is a cabal of military officers, the only simple thing is to bring the evidence, bring the names. I rest my case,” Ayo-Vaughan maintained.