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OIL THEFT AND ASARI’S BUSYBODY: IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO FINGER ONLY MILITARY, BY ZIK GBEMRE

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What Asari Dokubo said is not new. Has the military forgotten that former Governor Nyesome Wike of Rivers State openly indicted security operatives of owning illegal refineries in the state when he was a governor? He told some security operatives to their faces that they can’t do such illegal bunkering activities in his state.

Only a fool will say the security operatives are not involved.

Who are the people policing Nigerian waters, and creeks? All the oil installations, including pipelines are manned by Nigerian army personnel in the land areas of the South-South while the navy personnel man the creeks and sea where this illegal bunkering is taking place.

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The vessels used are big to be noticed by the navy who are security in charge of the waterways in the South-South including the sea. Tankers used are visible for the army to see in the land areas. Illegal refineries are visible for the DSS, Police, Army, and Navy personnel to notice.

Oil companies provide houseboats for the military in the swamps/creeks to guard oil installations. Are they saying they are not aware of all these booming illegal bunkerings? Are they saying the oil theft is fake? And again what is the role of the DSS who are supposed to provide intelligence to the military and police to act on when crude oil theft is going unrestrained?

The money used in paying all security operatives comes from the export of crude oil and gas. They can’t be sitting in the comfort of their offices to protect oil facilities.

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The multi-billion surveillance contract given to Tompolo is an indictment on the military, Police, DSS, Nigeria security, And civil defense corps.

If they were doing their work without compromise no person will hire Tompolo’s company to do that surveillance job with a bloated contract sum. What Asari Dokubo has said is a wake-up call to the military and security operatives to do the work they were recruited to do. If there was no oil theft no person will point accusing fingers at them.

President Bola Tinubu should match action with words and punish military officers, police, DSS, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, charged with securing the assets if they fail. Posting them out is not enough. There should be consequences for those who fail to do their jobs.

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For NNPCL and NUPRC top officials, they should be punished for aiding illegal bunkering as well. It is not possible to have that large-scale illegal bunkering without the observation of NNPCL and NUPRC military, DSS, Police, Nigeria Security And Civil Defense Corps and community locals. The vessels are too big that the military cannot say they don’t notice them stealing crude oil.

In most cases the security operatives don’t respond if they are informed of hot taps on pipelines by surveillance contractors and security team of oil companies.
The top security officers merely sit in their air-conditioned offices to wait for people who will give them information.

Firing service chiefs is not enough to solve the insecurity and unprotected pipelines in the South South. If security heads responsible for protecting lives, properties and national oil assets are not punished for their deliberate failures, then illegal sabotage, insecurity to lives and property will still persist.

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Zik Gbemre, a public affairs analyst,write from Warri, Delta State

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