By Evelyn Usman
The Nigeria Navy, NN has described report on alleged complicity of its officers and ratings in maritime illegalities as a grave allegation which was speculative and lacked facts, reiterating rather, its position on zero tolerance for economic sabotage.
Report in one of the national dailies alleged that operators of illegal refineries paid huge amount of money to naval personnel to allow them operate and that owners of private refineries also claimed they paid naval personnel on weekly or monthly basis depending on the agreement.
In a swift reaction, the Navy , said it would invite members of the purported organisation to assist in identifying the naval personnel who received bribes to facilitate the alleged unpatriotic acts of economic sabotage
The Navy in a statement issued to Saturday Vanguard and signed by the Director of Information, Commodore Suleiman Dahun, stated that as a responsible service saddled with the responsibility of fighting all forms of criminal activities in the nation’s maritime domain, it would not condone any act of indiscipline in that regard.
The statement read: “The attention of the Nigerian Navy has been drawn to a news report in some newspapers captioned ‘How Nigerian Navy Aids Crude Oil Theft, Herders’ Invasion’. While the report is largely speculative, lacking in facts and substance and one-sided, the Nigerian Navy notes the attempt to substantiate and legitimise the allegations contained therein by quoting an unnamed official of an organisation called Domestic Refineries Owners Association of Nigeria, who made grave allegations of complicity against Nigerian Navy personnel.
“Thus, as a responsible Service, the Nigerian Navy intends to invite members of the purported organisation to assist in identifying the NN personnel who receive bribes to facilitate the alleged unpatriotic acts of economic sabotage.
“In this respect, the Naval Headquarters wishes to further reiterate its position on zero tolerance for economic sabotage, isolated cases of personnel complicity in illegal acts as well as its resolve to fight all forms of criminal activities in the nation’s maritime domain.
“Accordingly, the Nigerian Navy encourages anyone with useful information regarding criminals operating in the Nigeria’s maritime environment or those aiding and abetting them, to please oblige the Service such information. The information so received and the informants are assured of utmost confidentiality in handling.
“The Nigerian Navy wishes to enjoin our media partners to endeavour to verify the information sourced from other stakeholders in the maritime industry with the Naval Headquarters especially those that pertain to maritime security”.