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Middle Belt Group Asks Tinubu To Sack Naval Chief Over Allegations Of Oil Theft

In a bid to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance in the Nigerian state, a coalition of five groups under the Umbrella of The Middle Belt Pan-Nigerian Forum has called for the resignation of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

The coalition, through its spokesperson, Dr. Danladi Ceceko Dangana, believes that the Naval Chief’s continued stay in office may impede the investigation into his alleged involvement in crude theft, contract splitting, and other corrupt practices.

The allegations against the Naval Chief were first brought to light by Concerned Nigerians, a coalition of Civil Society Organizations with prominent activists and Lawyers, Barrister Pelumi Olajengbesi, Esq, Comrade Deji Adeyanju, Comrade Mohammed Suleiman SK, Barrister Aisha Waliki, Esq and Comrade Ogunwoye Samson in a petition to the President through the Ministry of Defense.

The timing of these allegations is concerning, as Nigeria’s economy has been facing challenges since the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumed power. The coalition, therefore, appeals to the federal government, led by President Tinubu, to take immediate action and ensure a thorough investigation into the alleged activities of the corrupt Naval Chief. They fear that further delay could cause irreparable damage to the country’s crude oil resources.

The coalition is particularly alarmed by the Naval Chief’s response to the allegations, as he dismissed them as being solely based on an exclusive news report from a media platform.

You would recall that the People’s Gazette, an online platform had in a well detailed report revealed his alleged role in facilitating a loosely coordinated bunkering of Nigerian crude, as well as involvement in multibillion-naira contract-splitting fraud and other corrupt activities. Initial investigations conducted by the newspaper estimated that the Naval Chief had accepted bribes totaling over $170 million in the past six months alone.

The coalition questions whether the Naval Chief would deny the petition filed by credible civil society groups under the auspices of Concerned Nigerians who had presented evidence to the president. The groups claim that Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, under whose control Naval officers allegedly provided security to criminals, was involved in specific incidents of crude oil theft. One such incident involved the MT PRAISEL vessel, where the Nigerian Navy purportedly allowed it to patrol the Nigerian waterways under their protection. The coalition asserts that they possess evidence, including an authenticated video, showing the Nigerian Navy escorting the MT PRAISEL vessel during the night.

The coalition also references other incidents involving vessels like the MT KALI and MT Tura, where military gunboats, allegedly belonging to the Nigerian Navy, were seen protecting vessels engaged in crude oil theft. Additionally, they mention a recent case involving the MT VANNALARIS vessel, where the Nigerian Navy personnel prevented a private security firm from boarding or inspecting the vessel, despite allegations of illegal crude oil loading off Ondo State.

In light of these serious allegations, the coalition calls on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to act fast against the corrupt and incompetent Naval Chief in order to tame the theft of Nigeria’s crude oil. They emphasize the need for a thorough investigation into these matters to prevent Nigeria from becoming a laughing stock among the international community.

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