Nigeria will no longer release foreign vessels involved in oil theft – Minister

Suspected-crude-oil-thieves-with-their-vessel-in-the-background_420 July 2013, Abuja – Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru says the ministry will no longer entertain appeals from foreign missions to release the crew or ships, involved in illegal activities on Nigeria’s territorial waters.

Ashiru issued the warning on Friday in Abuja at a briefing with members of the diplomatic corps in Nigeria.

He also cautioned the diplomats against making comments on political issues that “amounted to undue interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs”.

The minister also briefed the diplomats on developments in Nigeria, the Gulf of Guinea, human rights issues, consular matters and recent international meetings hosted in Abuja.

On the Gulf of Guinea, Ashiru appealed to the international community to cooperate with Nigeria in the fight against piracy and oil theft.

On the alleged interference by some foreign missions in Nigeria’s internal affairs, Ashiru said: “some ambassadors and their diplomats have been hob-nobbing with civil society groups and opposition parties in the country.

“This is incompatible with the status of diplomatic missions or agents. We will not hesitate to identify and deal with erring missions that fail to respect Nigeria’s sensitivities and sovereignty.”

On terrorism, the minister said that the ongoing military operations in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, under state of emergency had recorded tremendous success.

He expressed hope that normalcy would soon return to the states, lauding Nigeria’s security forces for operating under rules of engagement.


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