Sophia Johnson
Fri, Sep 1, 2023 11:20 AM

Complicity of Nigerian Navy and Others in Crude Oil Theft Exposed: Senior Lawyer

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Complicity of Nigerian Navy and Others in Crude Oil Theft Exposed: Senior Lawyer
Human rights lawyer, Prof. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has accused the Nigerian Navy, traditional rulers, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and other government officials of being complicit in the theft of crude oil in Nigeria. Speaking at the Nigerian Bar Association conference, Ozekhome called on the Navy to expose and prosecute those involved in oil theft. He also emphasized the need for strong technology, youth employment, legal reform, and the legalization of illegal refineries to address the issue.

Amidst increasing concerns about the theft of crude oil in Nigeria, prominent human rights lawyer, Prof. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has made shocking allegations of complicity against the Nigerian Navy, traditional rulers, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and other government officials. In a panel session on the impact of maritime security threats on the Nigerian economy, Ozekhome spoke candidly about the prevalence of crude oil theft and the role played by various stakeholders.

Highlighting the mandate of the Nigerian Navy to protect the country's territorial waters, Ozekhome criticized the Navy for its failure to curb crude oil theft effectively. He argued that the Navy, equipped with sophisticated technology, cannot claim innocence in the face of such theft.

However, Ozekhome did not stop at implicating the Navy alone. He also pointed fingers at government officials, suggesting that the theft of crude oil has reached a point where non-state actors wield more power than the state itself. The senior lawyer called on the Navy to publicly reveal the identities of those involved in the theft, urging for their prosecution as a means of shaming individuals responsible for such economic sabotage.

In his plea to address the issue, Ozekhome emphasized the necessity of incorporating strong technology systems to monitor and combat crude oil theft and piracy. He also stressed the importance of providing employment and empowerment opportunities to Nigerian youths, suggesting that job creation could serve as a deterrent to illicit activities.

Recognizing the need for legal reform, Ozekhome advocated for stiffer punishments for those involved in crude oil theft. He argued that stricter penalties would act as a more effective deterrent to potential offenders, effectively curbing the prevalence of such activities in Nigeria. Additionally, Ozekhome called for the legalization of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region. By providing a legal framework for these operations, the senior lawyer hoped to formalize this aspect of the oil industry and mitigate the risks associated with illegal refining.

Commander Obiora Bede Anyikwa, who also spoke at the conference, identified crude oil theft, smuggling, and illegal refineries as major security threats to Nigeria's maritime environment. Highlighting the efforts of the Nigerian Navy, Anyikwa acknowledged that Nigeria has been removed from the list of piracy-prone countries due to the Navy's interventions.

However, Anyikwa, like Ozekhome, expressed concerns about the actions of non-state actors that compromise the performance of security agencies. He called for the upgrade of maritime domain awareness capabilities to enhance operational efficiency. Furthermore, Anyikwa recommended the approval of Nigerian Navy lawyers to prosecute maritime offenders, thereby strengthening legal enforcement in addressing maritime security threats.

The allegations made by Prof. Mike Ozekhome (SAN) shed light on the suspected complicity of the Nigerian Navy, traditional rulers, government officials, and other agencies in the theft of crude oil. To combat this pervasive issue, it is crucial to address the flaws in the security apparatus, deploy advanced technologies, and pursue legal reforms that deter potential offenders. Additionally, it is vital to promote youth employment and empowerment while exploring avenues to formalize the refining sector.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-01 News

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