The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Jibrin Usman has said the Nigerian Navy has in the past few months destroyed over 509 illegal oil refineries, 406 wooden boats and 10,086 auxiliary equipment in its fight against pipeline vandalism and oil bunkering.
Usman stated this yesterday in Calabar during the 2014 Navy Week Conference which has the theme: Combating crude oil theft in Maritime Domain: An imperative for Improved National Revenue Earning.
He said that the destruction was carried out between January and April 2014, adding that, over 492 suspects were arrested and handed over to relevant agencies for prosecution.
“The reduction in sea robbery and piracy in Nigeria waters is attributed to improved patrols by the Nigerian Navy and re-deployment of other assets to the identified flash and maritime choke points.” he said.
According to him, between January and April 2014, about 602 oil tankers legally loaded with 61,584,599 metric tons of crude oil, left Nigeria’s maritime domain without any untoward incident.
He added that the safe movement of the crude oil was as a result of the relative safety of Nigeria’s maritime space.
“The Nigerian Navy under my leadership will continue to partner with relevant agencies in the maritime sector, and in the areas of capacity building, and information and intelligence sharing.
“This will promote the well-being of the nation’s economic base.
“We shall continue to review our strategy and prioritize capacity building for maritime policing operations with a view to boosting efforts at curbing crude oil theft’’, he said.
Also speaking, Sen. Chris Anyanwu, Chairman of Senate Committee on Navy, said that Nigeria losses millions of U.S dollars in revenue as a result of crude oil theft.
Anyanwu said that Nigeria’s journey to the destination of becoming the top 20 global economies must first commence with effective check against theft of its oil to enhance the nation’s revenue.
She said that the Nigerian Navy has recorded some achievements in the fight against oil theft.
The chairman assured Chief of Naval Staff that the National Assembly would continue to do everything in its powers to ensure that the Navy was well equipped and its personnel properly trained.
In his goodwill message, Gov. Liyel Imoke of Cross River said the Nigerian Navy had recorded successes in the reduction of oil theft in the country.
He commended the Nigerian military for its efforts in addressing security challenges in the country.
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