In a series of high-profile meetings and public statements, the issue of oil theft in Nigeria has taken center stage. Asari Dokubo, a prominent Niger Delta leader and former agitator, has made serious allegations against the Nigerian military, claiming that they are at the heart of the oil theft problem in the South-South region of the country. He insists that 99 percent of oil theft can be traced back to the Nigerian military, particularly the army and navy.
The Nigerian Navy, in response, has challenged Dokubo to produce evidence to support his claims. Navy spokesman Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan described the allegations as spurious and unguarded, urging Dokubo to reveal the names of the officers involved in crude oil theft. The Navy is actively involved in the fight against crude oil theft, and any allegations of involvement are taken seriously.
Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has been holding meetings with key figures from the Niger Delta region, including Dokubo. The agenda of these meetings remains unclear, but it is believed that they are part of the president’s ongoing consultations with opinion leaders from the Niger Delta region. Tinubu has reiterated his commitment to halting crude oil theft in the country and has met with other key figures from the region, including former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Timi Alaibe, and former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
Recent news reports indicate that oil theft is a significant problem in Nigeria. A network of illegal oil pipelines has been discovered in the Niger Delta region, revealing the extent of oil theft in the country. In another shocking revelation, an illegal connection line from one of Nigeria’s major oil export terminals into the sea had been operating undetected for nine years. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) has also reported that thieves from all levels of society are stealing 200,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
These developments underscore the complexity of the oil theft issue in Nigeria. As the country grapples with this challenge, the spotlight is on the government and the military to address these allegations and find a lasting solution to the problem. As the situation unfolds, Nigerians and the international community will be watching closely.