by Sunday Aborisade
The Nigerian Navy said on Tuesday that the country is losing about 100, 000 barrels of crude oil estimated at N1.18bn everyday to oil thieves who had taken advantage of the poor law enforcement presence on the nation’s territorial waters.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin, who stated this in his presentation while defending the 2015 budget of the Navy before the Senate Committee on Defence (Navy), said the development is making Nigeria to lose N433.62bn annually.
Jibrin, who was represented by the Chief of Logistics, Rear Admiral Peter Agba, attributed the source of his information to Chatham House’ recent disclosure.
The disclosure, however contradicted the Ministry of Finance figure of 400,000 barrel loses per day despite the fact the President Goodluck Jonathan administration has awarded multi-billion dollar contracts to some private security outfits in the Niger Delta to secure the nation’s waterways.
The Naval chief lamented that the military institution submitted N205.4bn as capital budget for 2015 but that the Ministry of Finance reduced it to N8bn, which is 90 percent reduction of its original budget proposal.
He said, “The proposed capital projects for 2015 (captured in the initial N205.4bn), include the on-going acquisition of two OPVs, acquisition of patrol crafts and helicopters, procurement of arms and development of vital support infrastructure.
“The equipment are needed to improve naval operations and the welfare of personnel.”
Jibrin, however said despite the substantial reduction in the Navy appropriation in 2014, it was able to arrest 84 vessels, and 155 suspected oil thieves.
He also said his personnel had also destroyed 120 illegal oil refineries, 29 barges, 93 boats and 1, 259 auxiliary equipment and tools used by the oil thieves.
The development, he added, “deterred criminal activities in the water ways and helped in no small measure in providing the enabling environment for the continued exploration and exploitation of the nation’s oil and gas resources.”
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Chris Anyanwu, commended the navy for its efforts at checking criminal activities on the nation’s territorial waters.