The federal government has shown lack of commitment and political will ‘to expose, arrest, prosecute and jail military officers implicated in the widespread theft of Nigeria’s crude oil resources’.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) berated President Bola Tinubu for not ‘taking any concrete, realistic, transparent and open actions against the indicted serving military officers, who are lining their pockets with filthy lucre made from the diversion of Nigeria’s crude oil to the black market globally’.
The body said Tinubu ought to have relied on the evidence produced by both Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, and the former Niger Delta militant warlord and now loyalist of President Tinubu, Asari Dokubo.
HURIWA disclosed this weekend in a statement issued by its national coordinator, Mr Emmanuel Onwubiko.
HURIWA quoted the national security adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, claiming that the country loses 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily to local and international thieves despite efforts to end the menace.
Ribadu, according to HURIWA, disclosed this when he led a presidential delegation to inspect oil and gas facilities at Owaza in Abia and Odogwa in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers on Saturday.
In Ribadu’s words, “It’s unfortunate that few individuals would steal our common resources, and in the process cause unbelievable loss to both the nation, communities and the people.
“Nigeria has the capacity to produce two million barrels of crude daily, but we are currently producing less than 1.6 million barrels due to theft and vandalism of pipelines. So, we are talking about 400,000 barrels of crude oil going to waste with few criminals and economic saboteurs not even getting much out of it.
“The value of 400,000 barrels of oil today is about 4 million dollars, and every day, we lose this amount because of this irresponsible behaviour. If you multiply 4 million dollars by 365 days (one year), you will see that it is a lot of money running into billions of dollars.”
HURIWA therefore bemoaned Tinubu’s failure to address the revelation, accusing FG of being more ‘interested in media dramatisation about the critical issue of massive diversions of crude oil resources, especially by a powerful cartel, which allegedly included serving Naval and Army Generals’.
HURIWA alleged that some interests within the Nigerian Navy are aware of these massive crude oil thefts ‘so much so that it is now getting involved in a shameful public spat with Tompolo-led effort to rid the nation’s waterways of crude oil thefts’.
The widely reported contract handed over to Mr Government Ekpemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo, is clearly a vote of no confidence in the Navy, the rights group said, adding that, ‘both the immediate past administration and the succeeding Tinubu government are showing disappointing attitudes towards concretely combating the increasing waves of crude oil thefts in the country’.
HURIWA therefore called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to set up an independent inquiry into allegations of involvement of military officers in crude oil thefts and for the panel to ‘uncover, list out, name, shame, prosecute and jail these economic saboteurs for their crimes against Nigerian people’. It wondered if ‘President Tinubu is mortally afraid of wielding the big stick against military officers diverting massive crude oil resources that belong to the Nigerian masses!’
HURIWA urged FG to take steps to investigate the allegations made by Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSL) against the Nigerian Navy when it cleared the air over the incident at the Lekki area of Lagos involving its operatives and some Nigerian Navy personnel on August 29.
According to the group, “The continued detention by the Nigerian Navy of these five brave, selfless Nigerians, who risked their lives on the high seas to protect our commonwealth, is a disservice to our nation.
“HURIWA is, therefore, urging the president, who doubles as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to demonstrate courage and statesmanship by dealing with military officers known to be notorious conspirators with mafia members of crude oil thefts.
“Government must either dismantle this crude oil mafia diverting the nation’s crude oil resources or they will destroy Nigeria.”