– Says illegal oil bunkering reduced by 99% in Rivers State
Port Harcourt — The outgone Commander of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Rivers State, Michael Ogar has raised the alarm that crude oil thieves were out to tarnish his reputation following his efforts in stamping out oil theft and criminalities in the state.
Ogar who was yesterday suspended by the Commandant General of NSCDC, Abubakar Audi, over the protest by tanker drivers branch of NUPENG, explained that the allegations raised against him by the protesters were all false, as he acted within the ambit of the law.
The NSCDC Commander who presented to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Friday, court documents, advertisments and receipts of payment to federal government account, the proceeds from the auctioning of the impounded products, maintained that he did not commit any offence since he followed all due process on the matter.
He said it was unsurprising that tanker drivers were sponsored by illegal oil bunkerers to protest against him to be redeployed since he was standing on their way, espeically since the Command under his leadership and in collaboration with other security agencies have reduced oil theft and illegal oil bunkering activities in Rivers State by 99 percent.
“The allegations were instigated by the illegal oil bunkerers who are not happy with my work against illegal bunkering in Rivers State.
“When I came here, there used to be plenty of oil bunkering activities causing soot in Rivers State, but my efforts in collaboration with sister agencies have been able to reduce illegal oil bunkering by 99percent and everybody can attest to the fact that soot and illegal bunkering in Rivers State has drastically reduced, even there is increase in Nigeria’s crude oil production.
“The allegations raised by the protesting tanker drivers are false, the said tankers were arrested by a joint taskforce in August last year and handed over to us.
“I have documents here to show that due diligence and lawful procedure as prescribed by the federal government was taken.
“This document showed documents of handover notes and the court judgement from the Federal High Court that these proceeds of crime should be forfeited to the federal governemnt. As well as newspaper adverts of the auctioning of the products.”
The former Rivers NSCDC boss emphasised that enemies of Nigeria who were truncating the Corps’ efforts to stop illegal oil bunkering in the country, were sponsors of last Wednesday protest.
He expressed confidence that he will come out victorious and his name cleared in the investigation which has been ordered by the Corps’ Commandant General.
“The protesters in their protest were chanting the name of their sponsors and that they need me to be transferred out of the state.
“I didn’t commit any offence, I followed due process in auctioning the products as directed by the court. The proceeds of the auctioning was paid to the federal government account, here are the receipt as evidence.
“Also, the allegations are false to tarnish my reputation which I have built for many years. I have done a lot of arrest, recovered riffles, and secured 12 convictions this 2023 alone and numerous forfeitures.
“The protesting tankers drivers claimed that they obtained an order from a magistrate court for the release of the products, whereas the magistrate court has no power to adjudicate on issues of federal crimes like illegal oil bunkering.
“Anyone who takes an issue of federal crimes to magistrate court has criminal intent, so it was the Federal High Court who gave us the order to auction the products,” the NSCDC Commander explained.
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