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Arrest of illegal oil vessels behind attack on Naval Chief, Ogalla – South-East group

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South East Development Peace Initiative has alleged that the successful fight against oil theft is the major reason for the recent attacks against the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

The group was reacting to the recent arrest of a Ghanaian Vessel with 13 crew members over suspected oil theft.

The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft intercepted a vessel, Motor Tanker Sweet Miri, involved in suspected crude oil theft.

The vessel, owned and registered by a Ghanaian company manned by a crew of 13, including one Ghanaian and 12 Nigerians, was arrested approximately 174 nautical miles off the Nigerian coast, en route to the Benin Republic.

Speaking at a press briefing in Enugu through its President, Vitus Okechi, the South East Development Peace Initiative noted that the Navy under Ogalla had shown commitment and resolve to end oil theft and sabotage.

“What the Navy needs is the support of Nigerians; with the backing of the government through necessary incentives, oil theft will soon be a thing of the past.

“You don’t blame those attacking him in the media. The Naval boss has become a stumbling block and cannot be compromised.

“So, they have to find a way to sabotage his efforts but unfortunately Nigerians are wiser, thus the continued support for Ogalla and his boys.

“The Naval Chief has refused to be intimidated to stop the good work he is doing. Oil bunkering is a cankerworm that must be eliminated,” he said.

Okechi, a former Commissioner in Enugu State, noted that the feat by the Navy was a further statement of their commitment to effectively deal with oil thieves in the coast, describing the arrest as “a giant feat in the fight against corruption associated with stealing of oil”.

He added that, “we are not surprised to hear that the Navy intercepted and nabbed a vessel carrying approximately 2 million litres of suspected crude oil without proper authorisation because we know that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla is equal to the task of dealing with oil thieves”.

He urged well meaning Nigerians to support Ogalla’s fight against oil thieves with prayers and words of encouragement to enable him consolidate and win the fight.

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