March 2, 2024

he Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla has vowed to sanction any naval officer found culpable for illegal oil bunkering and its related offences.

Ogalla who made this known while speaking on Friday at the end of a two-day familiarisation tour of Navy commands and facilities in Rivers State, said the navy had “had cases in the past” of such crude oil theft and appropriate actions were taken.

He, however, noted that at the moment, more than 97 percent of allegations of crude oil theft against military officers “are based on social media and have no proper background.”

The CNS said, “We are going to improve surveillance capability because we want to be able to strike the criminals even before they go into the act.

“We don’t want to be on the defending side, we want to take the war to the criminals and get them even before they start the act.

“We can only achieve this through proper intelligence and technology. And that is why we are trying to extend the coverage of our maritime domain awareness capability (the Falcon Eye), to the back waters which is the creeks and the riverine areas where most of these activities take place. With that I believe we will achieve the desired objectives”.

“The allegation of involvement of our officers in oil theft is baseless. Anytime we receive such information, we investigate it properly. So far, our investigations have been showing that most of the allegations are not true.

“But each time, we still respond to them by investigating properly. If there is element of truth in it, we hold the personnel responsible and we apply the law according to the arm forces act.

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“It has a very severe consequence ranging from imprisonment and dismissal. We had cases in the past and appropriate actions were taken. But I bet you, more than 97 percent of those allegations are based on social media and have no proper background.”

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