The Nigerian Navy has responded to the accusations of oil-bunkering and contract-splitting fraud that have been leveled against the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that some lawyers and activists petitioned President Bola Tinubu through the Ministry of Defence to probe Ogalla for his alleged role in aiding a loosely coordinated bunkering of Nigerian crude and multibillion-naira contract-splitting fraud.
A statement issued on Saturday by A.O. Ayo-Vahughan, the Navy Director of Information, stated that claims that the Naval Chief collected $170million in bribes as well as alleged involvement in multi-billion naira contract splitting fraud in the last 6 months were not accurate.
The statement went on to say that it was beyond the power of the Navy to award oil-related contracts and as such there was no way the Chief of Staff would have been connected with the alleged frauds as claimed in the viral reports.
The statement read, “The allegations that the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) accepted over $170 million in bribes as well as alleged involvement in multi-billion naira contract splitting fraud in the last 6 months are untenable, baseless and untrue.
“Firstly, there are clear procedural requirements in the arrest, detention and release of any vessel or persons found culpable in the maritime environment. It is until these processes are duly concluded that such vessels are released to appropriate prosecuting agencies for further actions. Indeed, all arrested vessels mentioned in the publication that were involved in crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering are being investigated and none of such vessels has been released as alleged.
“Secondly, the CNS does not award or oversee oil bunkering contracts; the award of such is the sole prerogative of NNPCL.
“Thirdly, all contracts awarded by the Navy follow due process in line with the laws of the Federation. The Nigerian Navy (NN) and her roles is an offshoot of the constitutional provisions and duly guided by extant laws and regulations of the land. The policing roles of the Navy empowered her to monitor the maritime domain of the nation. These among others include the arrest of vessels that contravene any of the maritime laws and SPOMO Act 2019.
“The Service is aware of the coordinated frantic efforts to blackmail the office and person of the CNS by some disgruntled elements who are feeling the heat of the Nigerian Navy’s renewed vigour to fight crude oil theft and illegalities in the maritime domain as well as those who have in one way of the order shortchanged the Navy before now.
“Specifically, the continuous rejuvenated operations towards curbing oil theft has given the oil thieves sleepless nights hence the decision to engage in the malicious publications. It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy recently launched
“OPERATION DELTA SANITY which provided for a holistic, more robust roadmap towards the reinvigorated stance of the NN towards the fight against crude oil theft and other forms of illegalities in the Nation’s maritime environment.
“Indeed, the NN is aware of these antics as it is expected considering the current resolve of the NN to engage oil thieves head on. The cartel hitherto believed no individual could confront its ranks. Fortunately, the recent achievements of the NN in this regard have put them on their heels hence the resort to cheap blackmail through immoral and compromised online media publishers.
“Pertinently, the NN will continue to ensure legitimate businesses in the maritime domain thrive seamlessly. Also, these distractions will in no way retract the NN’s resolve to confront these criminals who must be brought to justice for Nigeria’s economy to rebound. The security and economy of the nation is greater than any group of persons that think they must continue to drain the country."