By Donald Arji
THE Nigerian Merchant Navy, Seafarers, Maritime and Petroleum Security and Safety Corps has sent a strongly worded petition to the President Goodluck Jonathan, to institute a high- powered probe into the alleged involvement of some officers of the Nigerian Navy in the illegal entry of ships loaded with refined petroleum oil products into the country.
The Director-General and Commandant of the Nigerian Merchant Navy, Commodore Benson Edema who made the allegations in a release said some officers of the Nigerian navy in connivance with some government officials attached to the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, “evaded and confiscated all relevant documents relating to the number of ships and the name of agents that came into Nigeria with loads of refined Petroleum Oil products and the total amount of tonnage and litters of Petroleum products on board brought and offloaded in Nigeria.”
According to Commodore Edema, “ The Nigerian Navy, NN, conspired with Petroleum fraudsters to issue clearance and permits of entry to vessels without petroleum products on board to proceed alongside jetty and terminals for offloading since 2003.
They connived with a top official at the office of the Secretary to the Federation in Lagos to gain access to those relevant documents they seized and also to use the influence of the top federal government official to evade and seal up the headquarters of the Nigerian Merchant Navy ship base in Lagos.
After that, they confiscated all items related to the tonnage and litters of petroleum, PMS, Diesel, AGM, and kerosene, DPK, to prevent the security corps from carrying out their maritime Petroleum security operational duties in Lagos, Delta and Benue States.”
He alleged also that “the activities of some officers of the Nigerian Navy have been distracting the attention of the Federal Government from getting to the root of oil theft and those security agents involved in collecting the subsidy money without supplying petroleum product and the diversion of same products from offloading at jetties point.
”In November, 2007, the Nigerian Merchant navy alerted the Federal Government over the increasing rate of illegal firearms and ammunition being smuggled into the country through the sea and land borders.
Unfortunately, two days after we raised this alarm, officials of the Nigerian Navy invaded our Ship Base in Lagos for raising the alarm and prevented us from carrying out our lawful duties. If that raid was prevented, the rate of rampant illegal firearms that gain entry into the country would have been checked drastically,” he stated.