Mkpoikana Udoma 27 October 2014, Sweetcrude, Calabar – The Nigerian Navy says oil theft in the Niger Delta region has dropped from 2.6 million barrels in January to about 800,000 barrels in September, 2014.
The Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command in Calabar, Rear Admiral Obiora Medani disclosed this at the second biannual inspection of Naval formations in Calabar, the Cross Rivers State capital.
Rear Admiral Medani commended efforts of officers and men of the Navy in the success recorded so far.
According to him, “the Nigerian Navy has done a tremendous job, and I can give you statistics. For instance, in January, when the present Chief of Naval Staff took over, Nigeria was losing 2.6 million barrels per month (that is January figures), but as of September which is the last published figure, it has dropped to 800,000 barrels, which means there has been a major drop in oil theft.
“Essentially, what has happened is we have stopped people from taking stolen crude out of Nigeria, what they have resorted to do now is to refine the product locally”.
But, he said the Nigerian Navy is presently faced with the challenge of how to dispose confiscated drums of crude oil and barges used for illegal refining of crude oil.
He lamented that the delay in court prosecution of suspects arrested with link to involvement in illegal crude oil business have littered Navy locations with confiscated items.
“The major challenge we are facing is how to dispose-off articles or materials that were arrested in the course of our anti-crude oil theft activities,. As it is, we have so many drums of illegally refined AGO that we have intercepted and we are keeping in custody and we cannot dispose them off, because they constitute part of the exhibits that are needed in court. And most of other agencies that are responsible for the petroleum industry have not come to collect them. So they are just constituting nuisance in our premises,” he said.