The Nigerian Navy said on Thursday that those behind recent media attacks on the service are “soon-to-be-arrested criminals involved in crude oil theft”.
This is as the service noted that it has been working harmoniously with all maritime stakeholders in the country and beyond, contrary to views in some quarters.
The Navy noted that the involvement of private maritime stakeholders in safeguarding vital onshore economic assets is not a strange development, provided they operate within the ambit of the laws.
The Nigerian Navy’s comment came after an allegation by a group, Ohaneze Think Tank, alleging that naval personnel have been hampering the smooth operations of the private security agencies on the waterways.
In a letter addressed to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, the group noted that rather than being partners in the progress of salvaging the nation’s oil economy from the hands of saboteurs, the Navy was frustrating the efforts of the private pipeline security outfits for them to fail.
However, in a statement on Thursday, the Nigerian Navy’s Director of Information, Rear Admiral Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, stated that the service has been combating oil theft and safeguarding the nation’s economic assets collectively with legitimate stakeholders.
The statement partly read, “It is on record that the NN has always worked harmoniously with all maritime stakeholders nationally, regionally, and internationally. The coming on board of private maritime stakeholders for the protection of critical onshore economic assets in the sole interest of the nation’s economy is a known development, provided professionalism and Standard Operating Procedures are upheld strictly. Hence, it is a complete fallacy to allege the contrary via sponsored, ill-conceived, and uncorroborated publications.
“Evidently, the NN, as the lead agency for the security of Nigeria’s maritime environment, has been at the forefront of galvanizing legitimate maritime stakeholders for the collective fight against crude oil theft and to secure our national economy’s assets. This is obvious with the various past and ongoing operations and exercises designed to curb maritime criminalities, particularly oil theft. Some of these operations are: Operation Dakar Ta Dabarwo, Operation Calm Waters, Operation Nchekwe Oshimili, and Exercise Sea Guardian, among others. The fight against crude oil theft is ongoing with renewed vigour in 2024.”
Ayo-Vaughan noted that the allegation was aimed at distracting the Navy from the service’s renewed fight against oil theft in the country.
He added that the service under the leadership of Ogalla would not succumb to the whims and caprices of the criminals.
“It is not surprising that these ignorant publications aimed at distracting the Navy are obviously sponsored by the soon-to-be-arrested criminals involved in oil theft who are feeling the impact of the Nigerian Navy’s renewed fight towards eradicating the menace of oil theft. The Navy’s effort has been visible, leading to an increase in oil production in the last six months, as rightly reported by relevant authorities and the media.
“The Navy, under the leadership of Ogalla, will not be deterred by the malicious and misguided propaganda in the media. The sponsored campaigns of calumny will not deter the NN from carrying out her constitutionally enshrined roles in the interest of the national economy,” the statement added.
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