‘There’s no fight’ — CDS says government agencies, private outfits working to end oil theft

Christopher Musa, the chief of defence staff (CDS), says there are “no fights” between private security firms and the armed forces in their duty to safeguard the country’s waterways from crude oil thieves. 

Musa spoke on Monday in Oporoza, Delta state, while inspecting a vessel impounded for allegedly conveying stolen crude oil.

Recently, the Nigerian Navy and Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL), a private security firm, have been at loggerheads over a crude oil vessel arrested in Ondo state.

Tantita, owned by Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, claimed that the arrested vessel had on board, naval personnel that reportedly prevented its security operatives from conducting a joint inspection.


But the navy said it arrested the vessel with 17 crew members on board, engaging in illegal siphoning of crude, alleging that Tantita raised a false alarm.

The issue degenerated further, with the navy accusing Tantita of complicity, saying the “Awoye riverine area, which is close to the place of arrest, is covered by TSSL”.

The security firm had refuted the navy’s allegation as “libellous” and “defamatory”.


Speaking on the issue, Musa said there is no competition between the private security firms and the armed forces, adding that they “work together as a team”.

“The armed forces, the security agencies, the communities, private security agencies, wherever they are, they are contracted as long as they’re contracted by the federal government, we’re going to work together as a team,” the CDS said.

“There’s not going to be any competition between us, and please, the media should stop making it look as if there’s a fight, there is no fight.

“Whatever arrest that has been done, it is done collaboratively, and we’re going to continue to do that. And so that is very important.


“We’re happy that these have been arrested. We’re going to take it off from here, and we’re going to do more, because, henceforth, we’re going to enhance our collaboration and our jointness in ensuring that we check these menace.

“This is a collaborative effort and it will continue to collaborate with the NNPC, the others, private security agencies, the main federal government agencies are also working together.

“I don’t want a situation where we create the impression as if there’s enmity between this group and that group.

“We’re working for the same team, we’re all Nigerians, this is our country. Whatever is happening here is an act of criminality that must be stopped by all means. So, I want to make it very clear that all Nigerians must put hands on deck to ensure that we stop these acts.”


He added that armed forces will commence an investigation on the arrested vessels and identify the masterminds.

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