The Nigerian Navy has said majority of crude oil theft in the country occur in offshore facilities of the oil companies.
Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, commodore Suleiman Ibrahim, made the claim yesterday during an interactive session with journalists in Port Harcourt.
Ibrahim warned that the country will continue to lose huge revenue if it continues to pay attention only to illegal bunkering activities going on onshore.
He expressed regrets that despite the directive of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike chairmen of local government areas in the state no longer assist the Nigerian Navy in the fight again illegal bunkering.
The Commander said, “We are not getting any support from the local government councils now even after state governor’s directive. They were supporting before but the tempo had died down.”
Ibrahim also expressed worry over the kind of sentences being handed down to oil thieves, saying such judgements discourage security operatives from the fight against illegal bunkering activities.
He said, “Even the judiciary is not helping our cause. The type of judgement they hand down to oil thieves is not encouraging. We know the pain; we know what we go through to arrest. So, when certain judgements come, it discourages us.
“We don’t have power to prosecute. When we arrest, we hand over to agencies that have prosecuting power. They are the ones that go to Court. We also follow up.
“It is after judgement that the prosecuting agency will write to us to inform us that they thieves were either sentenced to six months imprisonment or fine of N2,000 while the seized was sold for paltry sum of money.”