Gets kudos from Wike for being apolitical
By Philip Nwosu and Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Nigerian Navy said it confiscated crude oil and diesel worth N420 billion in 2016 from suspected crude oil thieves and saboteurs in the country’s oil producing region
Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, who made the revelation while presenting the navy’s operational scorecard for 2016 to members of the House of Representatives, said the specific quantity of crude oil and diesel seized, stood at 810,725 and 1,078 metric tons respectively. The naval chief revealed that the force destroyed 181 illegal refineries, 263 wooden boats, 38 barges, 139 Geepee tanks and 148 pumping machines in 2016.
He said 784 suspects were arrested while 22 crude vessels, 53 wooden boats, 145 outboard engines, 135 speedboats, 27 tankers and 2,974 drums were seized from the crude oil thieves.
Admiral Ibas further revealed that the force recovered 468 weapons and 1,659 ammunition from the suspected economic saboteurs in 2016.
A statement from the force’s spokesman, Navy Captain Suleiman Dahun further revealed that the Chief of Naval Staff told the legislators that the force confiscated 210 storage tanks, 47 vehicles, 15 motorcycles, 4,753 jerry cans, 27 power generating sets, 224 surface tanks, 24 hoses, 17 welding machines and 33 vessels, reiterating that the feat was despite the reduction in overhead with only N2.5 billion released out of about N3.4 billion appropriated in 2016.
The statement quoted Admiral Ibas as saying out of the N56.463 billion appropriated for personnel cost in 2016, N49.656 billion was released, while N205.879 million was generated as Internally Generated Revenue and remitted to government via the Treasury Single Account (TSA). As for 2017, he said the Nigerian Navy plans to expend about N26.446 billion on capital projects with the priority areas listed as fleet renewal, operational infrastructure upgrade, operational logistics procurement, capacity development and personnel welfare.
Earlier, Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Abdulsamad Dasuki commended the Nigerian Navy for performing credibly well, despite insufficient funding and other operational challenges, promising that the committee would ensure adequate allocation of fund for the maintenance and fuelling of Nigerian Navy platforms.
The chairman however, observed that an estimated N3 trillion ($10 billion) was lost in revenue due to Nigerian Navy’s inability to carry out statutory duties, reiterating that the Navy’s budgetary allocations must be realistic.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has lauded the Nigerian Navy for being apolitical, saying the security agency has always acted professionally.
Wike also commended the Naval high command for tracking down the state Commercial Fishing Trawler, which, he said, would boost the revenue base of the state.
The governor, who spoke when he received the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole and the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Commodore I. N. Kayoda, said, unlike other security agencies, the Nigerian Navy had concentrated on the promotion of security, rather than promotion of political interests.
He said: “The Nigerian Navy has lived above board. They have refused to be dragged into politics. We have had rerun elections in the state, but I have had no reason to complain about the conduct of naval personnel.”
He assured the Naval high command of the support of his administration in terms of provision of logistics to fight crime.
The governor said the gunboats being purchased for the Nigerian Navy by the state government would be released to the security agency. He charged the Navy to ensure that the gunboats when delivered, should be used strictly for the protection of Rivers waters.
He said: “We are always willing to support security agencies. Nobody will tolerate crime as it hinders development.”
Earlier, Rear Admiral Oluwole disclosed that the Navy had tracked down the fishing trawler of the state, pointing out that it would soon be handed over to the government. He lauded Governor Wike for his commitment to Naval operations, saying the 120 housing units completed by the administration for the NNS Pathfinder would solve accommodation challenges of the personnel at the facility.
Oluwole noted that the Nigerian Navy would judiciously use the gunboats when delivered by the state government.