The Nigerian Navy has described as malicious, baseless and false allegations of corruption against the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.
The Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, in a statement on Saturday, said the allegations that the CNS accepted over $170 million in bribes as well as alleged involvement in multi-billion naira contract splitting fraud in the last six months were untenable, baseless and untrue.
The Navy was reacting to a publication in an online newspaper (not LEADERSHIP) which accused the CNS of corruption and connivance with oil thieves, a development that has prompted the federal government’s resolve to probe the Naval Chief.
He said the Service was aware of the coordinated frantic efforts to blackmail the office and person of the CNS by some disgruntled elements who were feeling the heat of the Nigerian Navy’s renewed vigour to fight crude oil theft and illegalities in the maritime domain as well as those who have in one way or the order shortchanged the Navy before now.
He noted specifically, “the continuous rejuvenated operations towards curbing oil theft has given the oil thieves sleepless nights hence the decision to engage in the malicious publications.”
He explained that there were clear procedural requirements in the arrest, detention and release of any vessel or persons found culpable of any crime in the maritime environment.
He said, “it is until these processes are duly concluded that such vessels are released to appropriate prosecuting agencies for further actions. Indeed, all arrested vessels mentioned in the publication that were involved in crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering are being investigated and none of such vessels has been released as alleged.”
He denied that the CNS awards or oversees oil bunkering contracts, stating that “the award of such is the sole prerogative of NNPCL.”
He said “all contracts awarded by the Navy follow due process in line with the laws of the Federation.”
The Director said the Nigerian Navy (NN) and her roles is an offshoot of the constitutional provisions and duly guided by extant laws and regulations of the land.
“The policing roles of the Navy empowered her to monitor the maritime domain of the Nation. These among others include arrest of vessels that contravene any of the maritime laws and SPOMO Act 2019,” he added.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy recently launched OPERATION DELTA SANITY which provided for a holistic and more robust roadmap towards the reinvigorated stance of the NN towards the fight against crude oil theft and other forms of illegalities in the nation’s maritime environment.
“Indeed, the NN is aware of these antics as it is expected considering the current resolve of the NN to engage oil thieves head on. The cartel hitherto believed no individual could confront its ranks. Fortunately, the recent achievements of the NN in this regard have put them on their heels hence the resort to cheap blackmail through immoral and compromised online media publishers,” he stated.
He reiterated that the NN will continue to ensure legitimate businesses in the maritime domain thrive seamlessly, adding that, “these distractions will in no way retract the NN’s resolve to confront these criminals who must be brought to justice for Nigeria’s economy to rebound.”
Rear Admiral Ayo-Vaughan said the security and economy of the nation is greater than any group of persons that think they must continue to drain the country.
He, therefore, enjoined members of the public to disregard the malicious publication because “it is totally untrue and completely baseless being a figment of the shallow imagination of the writer, his publishers, and their unpatriotic sponsors.”