The Nigerian navy has finally accepted that its personnel are actively involved in the orchestrated crude oil theft in Nigeria.
In what was obviously a confession yesterday, the chief of naval staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo said indeed some navy personnel are conniving with criminals involved in oil theft.
Gambo said however that working with the hints that his office has, investigation is ongoing, and that whoever is indicted with the made to face the law
The chief of naval staff made the disclosures at the decoration of the newly promoted Rear Admirals in Abuja.
The event witnessed the promotion of 30 Commodores to the rank of Rear Admiral, and each of them was decorated by a member of their family alongside an officer. Also promoted by the Nigerian Navy are 25 captains to the rank of Commodore and 72 Commanders to the rank of Captain
The naval chief said the Nigerian Navy has recorded achievements in the fight against illegal bunkering and oil theft. He however regretted that some personnel are colluding with criminal elements to sabotage the efforts of the navy.
It is the first time the navy squarely owns up to complicity in oil theft in the country.
Allegations of navy personnel complicity in oil theft have been a subject of controversy especially between the navy and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company [NNPC].
Two years ago, during a briefing to commence the 64th anniversary celebrations of the Nigerian Navy in Abuja, the chief of the naval staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, not only denied any naval personnel involvement in oil theft, he placed the menace on the doorstep of the NNPC.
Gambo, who was represented by the chief of policy and plans of the navy, Rear Admiral Christian Ezekobe, said the NNPC was making things difficult for the navy with their “inactions”.
The CNS said the navy holds strategy meetings with the NNPC where they brief the state oil company on findings and discoveries. He said unfortunately the NNPC fails to respond to situations
Observers said the confession yesterday by the navy chief has exonerated the NNPC who had alleged that indeed the navy was actively involved in oil theft