…“We stopped bunkering and it affected marketers who pretended they were importing the products” – Navy
The Nigerian Navy has provided an untold expose on the deceitfulness of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company [from the days of its nature as a Nigerian government agency] over the perennial fuel scarcity in the country.
In addition to not having good grip of activities in the sector, the Navy pointedly accused the NNPC of equally disseminating fake information concerning crude oil theft in the country
Responding to questions from members of the Senate committee on economic and financial crimes at the National Assembly, Abuja last week, the chief of naval staff, Rear Admiral Solomon Agada addressed the causes of gasoline shortage to NNPC.
According to the Navy boss the stealing of 100,000 barrels of oil per day on Nigerian waters was impossible. The chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Kwari, had questioned him on why the country continued to experience cases of oil theft if the waterways were secured.
Agada in his response explained that the challenge is that because of the criminal activity inshore by the illegal refiners in tapping into the export lines, those export lines have not been in operation since early this year.
“The major terminals have not been able to process fuel for export since around February/March and instead of the NNPC telling the federal government that this product is not brought out to be able to process as export, they say the oil was stolen.”
Agada explained: “Let’s get someone who can do proper analysis of these figures and we’ll find out that these claims are just bogus; there is nothing substantive about them.
“We have communicated appropriately with the NNPC. Even at our last interface with them, they agreed with us, but when they come to the public, they say scream oil theft, hiding the fact from the public,”
He asserted that the hike in diesel price was due to a decrease in the supply of diesel after the navy stopped illegal bunkering in April.
The naval chief said the action of the Nigerian Navy knocked off some marketers from their positions as patrons in the rouging chain.
“People who have been doing this illegal business will confirm to you that since we started this special task force operation in April, their businesses have gone sour.
“This is also responsible for the increase in diesel prices in the country. Since we stopped the illegal diesel from coming to the market, the price has gone up because once there is high demand and low supply, the price will go up.
“People who ought to import will cut corners and buy the illegal products, but now that they can’t import and the illegal ones are not coming, this has reduced the quantity in the country.
“But somehow, nobody is coming to share this information with the people,” the Navy informed
He reinforced that the quantity of stolen petroleum products that NNPC have been dealing with among illegal refineries is nothing compared to what the NNPC is declaring as being stolen.
“If you’re talking about stealing 100,000m barrels a day, you need about five-tonne batches 20 times a day from the creek to the high sea, which is very unrealistic. I told them at the NNPC that if that were to be the case, even a blind man would observe that something was happening in Nigeria’s waters and we are there on patrol and not seeing this.
He said the navy has challenged the NNPC to reveal the difference between crude oil that has not been brought out and crude oil that has been stolen.