Oil theft: Reps probe rift between Navy, NNPCL hired security firms 

 

The House of Representatives has mandated its Special Committee on Oil Theft in the Niger Delta, to investigate the cause(s) of the reported endless rivalry and conflict of operational responsibilities between the Nigerian Navy and concerned private security firms engaged by the NNPCL.

A member, Hon. Donald Ojogo, had in a motion sponsored under matters of urgent public importance, Thursday, prayed the House to promptly wade into the conflict. 

He said the Nigeria Navy has the responsibility which covers the protection of Nigeria’s national assets, including the nation’s oil and gas infrastructure across the water belts of the country covering inland, onshore and offshore waters.

He noted, however, “that in its bid to take full advantage of human potentials across the Nation’s oil belt, the Niger Delta, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), then as Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in August 2022, firmed out intricate aspects of securing the nation’s oil and gas assets to some private security firms with deep knowledge of the areas in question”.

According to the lawmaker, such arrangements have recorded some positive results with regards to production output even as the 2024 budget estimates presented to the National Assembly by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, alluded to high expectations of further increase in output by benchmarking same at 1.7m BPD.

“But concerned that these high expectations that could only have been on the strength of an efficient, effective and robust collaboration and synergy of both the Statutory Security outfit, in this case, the Nigerian Navy, and custodians of delegated duties(private security firms) appear to be threatened by an unhealthy rivalry and incessant conflicts of operational responsibilities.

“Also concerned that these cases of unchecked open conflicts and altercations have almost reached an embarrassing level of media brickbats between the Navy and some private security firms with such assigned responsibilities.

He recalled that just last week, there was a reported case of exchange of gunfire between men of the Nigerian Navy and operatives of a private security outfit on the coastal waters of Ondo State, expressing worries that “if this trend continues, an unachievable oil output projection looms ahead of the 2024 Fiscal Year and that the implications of such development on the economy will be negative”.