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Kachikwu urges FG to set up panel to probe Nigerian Navy

Dumebi Kachikwu, a former presidential candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC), has urged the federal government to set up an investigation panel over an alleged oil theft involving the Nigerian Navy.

“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 inspire of the humongous amounts spent equipping the Nigerian navy,” he said in a statement on Sunday. 

Mr Kachikwu said this while reacting to a statement by the navy, saying it absolved an impounded vessel, MT Praisel, of involvement in oil theft and cleared it to continue its operations. Tantita Security Services Ltd intercepted the vessel. 

“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,” he said.

Mr Kachikwu alleged that navy personnel by the name of Cdr Samuel Samba Musa engaged in a conversation with a Tantita operative that suggested there was more to meet the eye concerning MT Praisel. 

He said the permit issued by NMDPRA showed that the vessel’s voyage was from Lagos to Koko in Delta, while the navy permit said the vessel was going in the opposite direction.

He said the master of the vessel, upon interrogation, showed the vessel was headed to Bonny and that the two permits were with conflicting information and the master was with another information.

“Beyond this, two tanks of the vessel were said to be fully loaded with AGO 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?

“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.”

He added that “What is more injurious is that anytime an incident like this occurs, the navy is quick to issue press statements denying her complicity but is always slow to bring errant personnel to justice.

“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.

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

Mr Kachikwu said if the navy succeeded in moving the vessel without the NNPCL, NMDPRA, NUPRC and Tantita operatives all converging on the same vessel for a joint inspection, then the war on crude oil theft by the Tinubu-led administration would be fruitless.

(NAN)

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