Mujahid Asari Dokubo, a prominent Niger Delta activist and former agitator, claimed on Friday in Abuja that the Nigerian Army and Navy are responsible for the majority of oil theft incidents reported in the oil-rich region.
Dokubo told State House reporters after his private meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja that “the military is at the center of oil theft” and that “we have to make this very clear to the Nigerian public that 99 per cent of oil theft can be traced to the Nigerian military, the Army and the Navy in particular.”
However, he pledged his support to the Federal Government to bring oil theft to “zero,” believing that the Tinubu-led administration would “fish out” the culpable elements in the military.
In April, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative revealed that Nigeria lost 619.7 million barrels of crude oil valued at N16.25tn to crude oil theft between 2009 and 2020.
The data gathered from the agency’s latest policy brief titled, “The cost of fuel subsidy: A case for policy review,” also stated that the country spent over N13tn ($74 billion) on fuel subsidies between 2005 and 2021.
Speaking on Friday, Dokubo said oil theft and security framed his nearly two-hour discussion with the President.
Nevertheless, the former agitator said he had assured the new administration of his support to ensure “zero” oil theft in the Niger Delta.
He said “Myself and my brothers have assured the President that there will be zero oil theft and vandalization in the Niger Delta.
“We’re going to walk with an NPPCL and the IOCs to make sure that oil tapped is brought to zero.”
On security, he faulted the narrative that the military was underequipped to take on terrorism, banditry and militancy head-on, describing it as “blackmail.”
For Dokubo, “The blackmail of the Nigerian state by the Nigerian military is shameful. They said they do not have enough armament and people listen to these false narratives. So this blackmail must end. They have enough resources to fight.”
He argued that the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, would not ease the tensions in the South-East. Rather, it would fuel impunity.
“During EndSars, Nnamdi Kanu was walking free. What did he do? He poured petrol on the flames of EndSars. Now, he has been caught. What of the people who have died? This is a criminal. He should face the law.
“Releasing Nnamdi Kanu is rewarding criminality and rewarding gruesome murder of innocent people. He should face the law for the actions and instigations he has carried out.”
Friday’s meeting is part of the President’s ongoing consultations with opinion leaders from the Niger Delta region.
Last week, the President also met other key figures from the region, including former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Timi Alaibe and former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Dakuku Peterside.
During his first meeting with Security Chiefs on June 1, the President directed the military and other security agencies to crush oil theft.