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‘Cover-up taking place’ — Dumebi Kachikwu seeks probe of alleged oil theft involving navy

‘Cover-up taking place’ — Dumebi Kachikwu seeks probe of alleged oil theft involving navy
August 07
12:45 2023

Dumebi Kachikwu, a former presidential candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC), has called for an investigation into the alleged oil theft involving the Nigerian navy.

On Wednesday, the Tanita Security Services said it intercepted a vessel, the MT Praisel, carrying crude oil suspected to have been stolen in the Koko area of Delta state.

The vessel was reportedly flying a Togolese flag and was being escorted by a navy boat led by a senior naval commander.

Speaking on the allegation on Friday, Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the Nigerian Navy spokesperson, cautioned members of the public against making assumptions that the shipment of oil was stolen until the results of laboratory tests and investigations are completed, adding that the vessel had regulatory approval.

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The private security outfit later acknowledged that the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) approved the MT Praisel as stated by the navy, but questioned the discrepancy in the port of discharge.

Expressing his concern on the matter in a statement on Monday, according to NAN, Kachikwu said the allegations of oil theft by the Nigerian navy are serious, noting the national security agency should not be a judge in its own case.

“The Nigerian navy has just released a statement saying tests have confirmed that the product on board the vessel intercepted by Tantita Security Services operatives is indeed HPFO as logged in the permit issued by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency (NMDPRA),” he said.

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“What the Nigerian navy fails to understand is that Nigerians won’t accept any report emanating from the navy.

“How can a navy that has been accused of complicity in a case of suspected oil theft be the judge and jury in its own case when it manages the process of conducting a test on the products within the vessel.

“This is simply unacceptable, too many red flags have been raised by Tantita Security Services that warrant the national security adviser or the president to set up an investigation panel on this matter.”

‘A COVER-UP IS TAKING PLACE’

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According to Kechukwu, the two tanks of the vessel were said to be fully loaded with AGO (diesel) suspected to be from an illegal refinery and without accompanying documents.

“Knowing this, how then can the Nigerian navy expect Nigerians to accept a laboratory report from a test managed by them?” he said.

“The navy was silent on the discrepancies in the documents and the story of the master. The navy was silent on the source of the AGO in the vessel.

“The navy refused to allow Tantita operatives access to the product so they could conduct an independent test. This, in itself, speaks volumes.

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“For how long will we allow a few unscrupulous individuals in the navy to continue to dent the image of the whole Nigerian navy?

“It is embarrassing to the nation that the brazen theft of crude oil continues unabated in spite of the humongous amounts spent equipping the Nigerian navy.

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“Right before our very eyes, a cover-up of gargantuan proportions is taking place. The NNPCL and other regulatory agencies who should take ownership of this process are quiet as the navy bullies her way through.

“In recent times the cartel behind crude theft hides behind bogus permits identifying their product as HPFO knowing it is a black product.

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“The question that must now be asked is the source of the HPFO and who the supposed end users are.”

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