The National Assembly is planning to initiate legal frameworks to break the monopoly of the Nigeria Navy (NN) in the policing of the nation’s blue water and deep sea, where the economic assets of the country in the oil and gas sectors are located.
This action would pave the way for the accommodation of private security companies in the task of securing the country’s oil and gas assets located in the blue waters and deep sea.
The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, made this disclosure during the weekend when he led his colleagues, drawn from seven relevant oil and gas committees of the House, on an inspection of the two oil bunkering vessels – MT KALI and HARBOR SPIRIT, impounded by Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL), headed by a former militant commander in the Niger Delta, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, in conjunction with the special task force set up by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Oglala, made up of all government security agencies (GSAs), at Oporoza, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state.
The 26 federal lawmakers were accompanied on the visit and briefed on the activities leading to the arrest of the vessels by Tantita’s executive director, operations/technical services, Warriedi Enisuoh.
Although Ado Doguwa did not directly state that the action was aimed at halting the monopoly in policing the nation’s blue waters, LEADERSHIP recalls that the Navy had hitherto enjoyed the exclusive right to police the country’s blue waters and deep sea.
LEADERSHIP recalls that MT KALI was arrested while siphoning crude oil from Pennington oilfields of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Bayelsa state on January 11, while HARBOR SPIRIT, a Moldovan vessel, was apprehended while stealing crude oil from Sengana oilfields in the coastal axis of Bayelsa state, on February 4, 2024.
Doguwa, who led his colleagues, including chairman, House Committee on Gas Resources and leader of the southern caucus in the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Nicholas Mutu; chairman, House Committee on Environment, Rt. Hon. Julius Pondi; chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Training Funds), Rt. Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, and Rt. Hon. Benedict Etanabene (Okpe, Sapele and Uvwie Federal Constituency) as well as the representative of Ilaje/Ese Odo federal constituency in the House, Rt. Hon. Donald Ojogo, on inspection of the impounded oil bunkering equipment, commended Tantita and the state-owned security outfit put together by Ogalla to complement the private security agencies for the giant strides achieved in the war against crude oil theft.
Doguwa, who also led his colleagues in a courtesy call on Ekpemupolo, said the National Assembly was desirous of supporting and encouraging the private security providers, especially Tantita, to stamp out the menace of illegal oil bunkering, adding that no efforts would be spared by the lawmakers to complement the sincere commitment of all stakeholders to put an end to the menace.
“The National Assembly is presently considering a legal framework that will empower the private security institutions protecting national assets like Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL), so as to allow them to operate not only on the shallow waters but also in the deep waters and high seas, so that they can protect and fight seriously against oil theft and incidences of vandalisation that have continue to adversely affect the national economy,” Ado Doguwa said on Friday.
Doguwa, who also doubles as chairman of the House’s special committee on crude oil theft, expressed satisfaction over the conduct of the private security agencies, especially Tantita, in the relentless war against crude oil theft.
“We have seen the very good work done by Tantita. We have also seen the very good work being done by our security agencies, the Army, Navy, the Police and NSCDC. We have seen how they are all working in synergy and doing their best.
“On our (NASS) own part, we will continue to create an enabling environment to see to the protection of oil assets…“A situation where we are having an upsurge in crude oil theft is not tolerated. And by what we have seen today, we have seen a complete sense of determination, a complete sense of commitment by the Nigerian security agencies alongside the private support, particularly, the private surveillance firm, Tantita,” Doguwa added.