The Nigerian Navy has called upon Mujahid Asari Dokubo, a former agitator in the Niger Delta, to provide a list of officers involved in crude oil theft within the region.
Dokubo made sensational claims on Friday, suggesting that the Nigerian Army and Navy were responsible for the majority of oil theft cases in the oil-rich area.
He shared these allegations during a press briefing at the State House after a private meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa.
“The military is at the centre of oil theft and we have to make this very clear to the Nigerian public that 99 per cent of oil theft can be traced to the Nigerian military, the Army and the Navy especially,” Dokubo had said.
However, responding swiftly, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Navy, dismissed the accusation as baseless and reckless.
He explained that the anger expressed by the oil thieves stemmed from the fact that the Nigerian Navy and the entire military had consistently prevented them from sabotaging the country’s economy through their ongoing operation, known as “Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO.”
He emphasized that the maritime armed force, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, would persist in thwarting the attempts of crude oil thieves to undermine Nigeria’s economy.
“The Navy has an operation in the Niger-Delta that has been running for over one year plus to curb oil theft. Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO has denied oil thieves more than N76billion worth of crude oil. The money that would have helped them to further increase their illegal artisanal refineries.
“So, the Navy is actively fighting oil theft. For anybody to make such spurious allegations, bring the names. He (Dokubo) is in the Niger Delta, he has boys in the Niger Delta.
“The company that was given a contract by the NNPC on pipeline surveillance, they are working with the Nigerian Navy and Operation Delta Safe in the Niger-Delta to curb oil theft.
“For somebody to just make such unguarded statement, bring the names. You know that there is an operation (Operation DAKATA BARAWO) going on in the Niger Delta being run by the Nigerian Navy since April last year. The Navy has been running it in synergy with the NNPC.
“NNPC holds regular meetings with the Chief of Naval Staff to review the operations. Just last week, the Chief Executive of NUPREC was here to have a meeting with CNS. Just two days ago, the management team for the other one on downstream regulatory authority were also here to have a meeting. For us, if you want to make such spurious allegations, bring the names. Simple!”
In April 2022, Operation Dakatar Da Barawo (OPDDB) was launched by the Nigerian Navy as one of its most significant operations in recent years. The primary objective of OPDDB was to combat crude oil theft and vandalism occurring in the creeks of the Niger Delta.
Working in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), the operation has achieved remarkable results thus far. The seizure of stolen petroleum products, valued at over N80 billion, has been a notable accomplishment. Moreover, numerous arrests have been made, highlighting the success of the operation.
An especially encouraging outcome of OPDDB has been the reversal of the declining trend in oil production. Since October, oil production has been steadily increasing, a development that has received widespread praise from stakeholders in both the oil and maritime sectors.
Since its inception, OPDDB has led to the apprehension of 131 suspects and 17 vessels. Additionally, 519 Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) and 4,261 storage tanks have been deactivated, while 560 wooden boats and 69 vehicles belonging to criminal elements have been rendered inoperative.
Furthermore, significant quantities of equipment used by oil thieves have been confiscated, including 90 speedboats, 303 pumping machines, 181 outboard engines, 8 welding machines, and 33 generator sets.
As a result, oil thieves have been denied access to approximately 116,939,404.26 litres (735,468.14 bbl) of crude oil, 45,120,813 litres of illegally refined AGO, 2,460,700 litres of DPK, and 372,285.7 litres of PMS. Based on current market rates, this denial of resources amounts to a staggering sum of N71,880,111,421.30 since the initiation of the operation.