Nigeria has sustained an error over of the years about arresting those they call illegal bunkers and oil refiners. The security agencies now use their arrest to assess performance. They often argue that these activities reduce the production ratio meant for export.
Recall that Sen. Ben Bruce has condemned this misplaced performance measurement syndrome and advised that local oil refiners should be encouraged to own official refining plants and produce refined products usually imported with claims of subsidy. They ought to be legitimized to pay taxes, create more jobs, generate working revenue and foreign exchange for the nation. One truth not known to many people is that the large quantity of this locally refined oil are sold to the tank farms of many ioil marketers who in turn ensure that they are sold at filling stations.
Oil marketers buy them cheaper from the local refiners in relations to imported refined products.
Nigeria lacks refineries yet has many unofficial local refineries termed illegal. They save Nigeria from constant shame of shortage of product supply in the market space and sustains the financial streams.
It is a running paradox which reared its ugly head again with no fewer than 150 suspects reported to have been arrested by the Nigerian Navy over illegal oil bunkering in Rivers State.
According to the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, the suspects were arrested in various parts of the state.
Outgoing Commander of the base, Commodore Suliaman Ibrahim, disclosed this while speaking to newsmen during a send-off parade in his honour.
He said that 100 Cotonou boats used for illegal bunkering activities have been seized in the past 16 months.
He added that illegal oil sites have also been destroyed by the Naval operatives.
Sulaiman disclosed that those arrested were handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further action.
He said that the efforts in fighting against crude oil theft and illegal refining activities in the state helped in increasing oil production.
According to him, “We arrested 100s of Cotonou boats, we also arrested over 150 persons for illegal oil bunkering. The arrest we made is quit huge and the arrested suspects were handed over to the relevant agents for prosecutions. We have taken the arrested suspects to EFCC.
“We went through various transformations to enable us meet contemporary changes. This changes include various physical training, swimming, range classifications and anti-attacks drills. Others were the creation of tactical riverine Squadron amongst others.
“It’s pertinent to state that this transformation did not come easy, however they were key to successes of the Nigerian Navy and in particular Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder in its fight against illegalities within the maritime domain of Rivers State.
“The base was instrumental to the increased on shore crude oil production with the effective support and escort provided during the crude barging operations.
“This of course would not have been possible without the collaboration between the navy and the oil companies.”