In a bid to put an end to oil theft and other related crimes in the Nigerian maritime industry, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, has warned oil companies in the country to stop perpetrating acts that can lead to economic sabotage.
The Navy boss issued the warning at a meeting with chief executives of the international oil companies at the Naval Headquarters in Abuja.
Jubrin who said the meeting was called to discuss security challenges in the maritime sector, most especially oil theft and illegal bunkering, expressed worry that acts of sabotage continue to have a negative impact on the Nigerian economy.
He accused oil companies of complicity in the perpetration of illegalities in the oil sector, adding that the situation has gotten to the level where people should be held responsible for their action and also made to face the full wrath of the law.
Pointedly, the Navy chief observed that “authorities and concerned stakeholders cannot pretend to say that the oil companies do not have hands in some of these illegalities, adding that “pretending is to allow you to continue and on my part you will not pretend”.
He further accused some oil giants of leaving their manifolds open for several years without making efforts to seal them up, thus leaving oil wells open to sabotage and theft.
Jubrin said that he had evidence which exposes the complicity of the oil giants in crude oil theft and other illegalities and warned that the government would deal decisively with erring firms.
He urged players in the industry to stop dragging the image of the country in the mud and stressed the need for efforts to be made in providing a lasting solution to the problem of oil theft, illegal bunkering and other vices in the sector.
“I have decided that I will take some steps that if a manifold for instance is open for years and our attention is drawn to the need for its closure and the companies who owns these oil wells is not taking appropriate action, we shall look for them and start arresting them as we are not only loosing crude oil but also the consequences of losing revenue accrued to the government,” he said.
In his response, the chairman, security sub-committee, Oil Producers Trade Sector, Ayobami Olubiyi, speaking for operators, assured the Nigerian Navy of the support of oil companies in the fight against crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and several other forms of illegalities in the Nigeria’s maritime industry.