Nigerian Navy vows to curtail oil theft

David Adekunle, Lagos

The Nigeria Navy Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) of Western Naval Command, Rear-Admiral Ferguson Dukas Bobai, has assured the citizenry that officers and ratings of the Forward Operational Base (FOB) will curtail oil bunkering in riverine areas.

Bobai spoke at the weekend in Igbokoda, the headquarters of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, after addressing officers and ratings of the base during a familiarisation.

According to him, the visit, which he said is part of his tour to the area, was aimed at accessing the activities of the officers.

He added that the navy is putting in place other tactical strategies to curb oil theft, piracy and attacks on oil and gas installations on the waterways and maritime environment.

“We are recapitalising our fleet and building capacities by way of getting our docks, yards and shipyards to be operational.

“This will enhance our performance and we will also be in a position to perform better, so as to curtail the activities of the miscreants within our areas of jurisdiction.

“The navy has come up with patrol strategies and creation of more choke points, so that when oil thieves steal whatever they have to steal, they cannot have access into the open sea.” he said.

He advised the officers not to engage in harbouring criminals as the navy is expecting a lot from them.

The naval officer stressed the need for them to be up and doing by discharging their duties effectively.

He urged naval personnel to keep maintaining good relationship with their host communities.

Bobai added that several efforts put in by the navy with assistance from other security agencies have resulted in drastic reduction in crude oil theft from about 1.2 million barrels per day to about 250,000.

In his response, the Commanding Officer, Forward Operational Base (FOB) Igbokoda, Navy Capt. Nnabuchi Aniaku, thanked the FOC for the visit, which, he said, was part of the activities of the Igbokoda FOB to acquaint him with its operational activities.

He hailed the Federal Government for the provision of resources, which, he said, has enabled them to perform better.

He solicited for more supports to enable the base personnel monitor wellheads, pipelines and other facilities due to the difficulties of the Niger Delta terrain.

The naval boss said the FOB, which covers the riverine areas of Ondo State, would continue to deter oil thieves and pipeline vandals from sabotaging the nation’s economy.