By Theresa Ugwuanyi
Just as the leadership of the Nigerian Navy is making arrangement to partner with security agencies of the United States of American to fight crude oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea, a senior military officer attached to the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Port Harcourt has accused top politicians and some monarchs in the Niger Delta region of supporting oil thieves in the region.
He disclosed this to Daily Independent on Monday.
The officer, who commands one of the units of the JTF, told Daily Independent that he got to know this following his deployment from Delta to Rivers State.
“I have discovered that traditional rulers and top politicians in the region would not want oil theft to end. This is because they make good money from the business. They even finance some of the operations,” he said.
He added: “Apart from financing, one out of five oil thieves arrested by JTF must be a relative or son to one traditional ruler or an influential person of that particular state. This may sound like a typical tale by moonlight stuff, but that is the hard fact.”
He stressed that if the government was serious about curtailing the activities of oil criminals, “Government must first look inward, deal with the root of the problem first before looking at the rest of the body. I can confirm to you that what the Minister of Finance said Nigeria is losing daily is very minute compared to what we (JTF) know.”
He stated that on several occasions when bunkerers were arrested, “people that would be coming to beg for their release are either top politicians, traditional rulers, government functionaries.
“You would be shocked that as they are talking to you, a call is coming to your phone from a top military officer from Abuja ordering you to release the suspects,” he added.
The soldier, who confessed he was fed-up with the insincerity of government in the fight against oil theft, regretted that criminals in the region were stealing the country dry.
“Some of them have no other job, no other means of livelihood, lazy and academically epileptic, so they cannot do any other thing other than stealing oil.”
He said he has spent 13 months with the JTF in Delta and in Rivers and, “I have seen more than enough. I am even gathering data, pictures and facts, one day I hope to write a book on this subject because this is not fair, it is injustice of the highest order.”
The JTF operative added: “ I decided to speak to you because I know you would not sell me out like one other journalist in Port Harcourt that I spoke to and he decided to go behind to the oil barons and finished me there; today he is on their payroll and would not write any negative story again about oil theft in the country.”
via: Innocent Eboigbe Ehiz fb