A Naval Chief has alleged that about 44 vessels carrying 1.6 million barrels of crude and 4.6 million litres of PMS (petrol) arrested in 2021 and another 13 vessels loaded with 154,000 barrels of crude seized within first quarter of 2022 which were handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have been sold by the Commission.
This was part of the revelation by Rear Admiral Sola Oluwagbire, Director of Operations of the Nigerian Navy, made before the Senate Committee at an interactive session on revenue leakage in the Maritime sector on Thursday. The Naval Chief in the course of the conversation, touched on the sore issue of stolen crude. He said that the Navy seized the crude oil between 2021 and the first quarter of 2022 from oil thieves.
According to him about 1.7 million barrels of crude oil were seized by the Navy between 2021 and 2022.
Oluwagbire, while highlighting the seized items to the committee, claimed 44 vessels were arrested in 2021 with 1.6 million barrels of crude and 4.6 million litres of PMS (petrol), while 13 vessels loaded with 154,000 barrels of crude were seized within the first quarter of 2022.
He said that the seized vessels were handed over to the EFCC since the Nigerian Navy was not a prosecuting agency, claiming that it was later gathered that the anti-graft commission had sold the products.
When Senator Solomon Adeola, Chairman of the Committee asked Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance if the proceeds of the sales had been remitted into the Federation Account, she said she was not aware of how the seized crude was handled.
She said, “I am not aware how the seized products were handled.”
The Senate Committee Chair in a statement released to the media said the Senate panel has agreed to invite the EFCC to get more information on the matter, He also requested the Navy to provide more details about the seized items.
Senator Adeola said, “We have asked the Navy to supply us with information. We want to know the current state of the seized products. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) is going to appear before us on Monday and we will invite the EFCC.”