Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Charles Obiora-Medani, has disclosed that Nigeria now loses 800,000 barrels of crude oil monthly to thieves as against over two million barrels monthly at the early part of this year.
Obiora-Medani made the disclosure in Calabar yesterday during the second FOC bi-annual inspection tour of Naval formations under the command.
The FOC said: ‚ÄúIn January 2014, when the present Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, took over, Nigeria was losing 2.6million barrels per month as at January figure.
‚ÄúAs at September 2014 which is the last published figure, it has dropped to 800,000 barrels, that will tell you that they have being a major drop in oil theft.‚Äù
He also stated that the rate of criminal activities perpetrated by sea pirates along the water ways in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States have reduced drastically.
The FOC said the drastic reduction in oil theft and other criminal acts within the waterways stems from steady and effective patrol of navy personnel along the Calabar-Oron and Ikang water ways.
‚ÄúOur effective patrol has made it impossible for sea robbers to attack oil service vessels and international boats that apply between Nigeria, Sao Tome, Cameroun and Gabon; because of our effective patrol along this axis, they can‚Äôt get around them, so they have now resorted to attacking soft target which are passenger boats.
‚ÄúI am assuring you that very soon, we will eradicate these criminals from our water ways,‚Äù Obiora-Medani said.
He said the rate of attack on passenger boats by pirates was on the decrease because the criminals have been having very though time with the navy. The FOC said the Nigerian Navy was doing a great job in tackling oil theft and sea piracy in the country.
He said the navy would not relent in its effort in ensuring that the water ways are free from criminals and pirates.
Obiora-Medani applauded the federal government and Cross River State Government for what he described as their intervention towards controlling the erosion site that was posing a threat to the commands facilities.
Facilities inspected by the FOC included the Navy Fleet Support Ships (NFSS), Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Victory, Navy Secondary¬† and Primary Schools, Navy reference hospital and a host of others.