INFORMED stakeholders of the Niger Delta have sent words to President Bola Tinubu, who, last week, in Abuja, directed Service Chiefs, heads of security, and intelligence agencies to “crush” oil thieves.
The stakeholders are telling him to calm down, study, and discern the real issues before churning out orders.
They said it was not the first time a Nigerian President would be giving such a directive, but the worry is how he expects service chiefs to stop oil thieves when top military officers are among the oil cabal sponsoring illegal oil refining and crude oil theft.
First, the stakeholders said President Tinubu should know that if he truly wants to confront oil theft, he must decide to step on powerful toes.
If Mr. President’s answer is confirmatory, they advised him to identify, expose, and penalize top military officers, including Army, Police, Airforce, DSS, Navy, etc (both serving and retired); Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPCL; International Oil Companies, IOCs; and politicians involved in crude oil theft.
After exposing and punishing the rotten eggs, the President should rejig the security architecture, the stakeholders added.
They also hinted that some highly placed government officials from the Villa where Tinubu governs from colluded with the oil cabal in the past governments.
They said oil thieves use technology to steal crude oil; therefore, the country must apply technology to prevent oil theft, not repairing pipelines after they had breached.
Military chiefs part of the organized crime–James, INC 2nd vice president
The second (2nd) National Vice President, Ijaw National Congress, INC, Chief Nengi James, who is familiar with the issues at stake, told Saturday Vanguard: “I will continue to mention it, this crude oil theft is an organized crime by the military, and some political bigwigs.
“In fact, this crime is even more dangerous than the petroleum subsidy. Ships and vessels loaded with crude oil freely go out of the nation’s territory to neighboring countries where they refine it and bring it back to us.
“They are using these local refineries to cover up, the volume of crude used by the local refineries cannot be compared to the ones loaded in vessels and siphoned. The community people are not involved in this organized crime, they are only involved in the surveillance job.
“The major players in this crime are those, who own the vessels, and military chiefs in the Ministry of Defence, Navy, and Army.
“All these coded Operation Pulo Shield, Operation Delta Safe, Joint Task Force, JTF, are just to deceive the people that they are working. Why have they not left the Niger Delta, it is big, enormous organized crime?”
Nengi, who is the national coordinator of the Association of Rural Chiefs for Peace and Development, asserted: “If they really want to change the situation, it is not even the surveillance that they are talking about. Let us not deceive ourselves in this matter, the criminality is top to bottom, they should stop pointing accusing fingers at the community. “
“Why are military officers in the creeks and Niger Delta richer than their own formation? Some have estates and properties. Have you asked yourself why the military has more interest in staying in the Niger Delta than fighting terrorists?
“Anywhere bunkering activity is going on, you will see several patrol vehicles, and checkpoints where they collect bribes. They are even those who are on illegal patrol. They will charter a taxi and be chasing those carrying bunkering products. However, these are the local ones.
“The greatest theft and criminality are in the high seas. That is why the oil companies are divesting and going offshore where they can load freely without monitoring. The security people there only share money; they are not monitoring or securing anything.
“The government should investigate and probe all the military personnel in the Niger Delta. They should explain how they came about the properties they gain every day.
“How can a junior officer be sharing money with his commander? Because there is no discipline, and everybody is sharing the booty. They share money and live above their income from the sea to the Defense Headquarters.
“This military personnel should be monitored, something like policing the security personnel, and you will see properties that will be recovered.”
Deal with the cabal severely–Kokori, ex-NUPENG scribe
Former General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Chief Frank Kokori, said: “The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, but Nigeria presidents have not been serious, they handle security issues with kid gloves.
“There are many corrupt elements in the security agencies; we only have less than 20 to 25 percent of good Nigerians in the security agencies that are patriotic.
“Tinubu is going to face them, and like the oil cartel and subsidy that have been wasting our money; he should be able to tackle them.
“There is a cabal, I am not a security man, the security people know who the cabals are; they know them. The cartel is powerful, and the government knows them. It is just that people like former President Muhammadu Buhari did not have the will to pursue them. He just allowed everything to go haywire in the country.
“If Tinubu gets the cooperation of the whole Nigeria, he will win the fight against oil theft, and let him punish some persons.
“Big men in Nigeria hardly go to prison, do you not see what happens abroad? They lock up former presidents. There are no big men in Nigerian prisons, only petty thieves. They only detain them for some weeks, and then they buy their way through with their big lawyers.”
Mr. President playing the political game–Oviawe, ex-army general
A retired Brigadier-General of the Nigerian Army, Sam Oviawe (retd.) told Saturday Vanguard in Benin City, “I do not think President Tinubu needed to give any order because the sole responsibility of the military is to ensure the safety of the people and the land of Nigeria.”
“I think he was playing political games, and he tried to shift the blame, I did not expect him to declare that in public, he could have written an order to them, which they cannot deny, but talking to please the crowd does not help matters.
”However, he has said that, but for the actual actions, it will surprise me if he gives them the support they will require.
“I do not know what the challenges are now, but I have a feeling that it is the political will to do what is right that has been lacking. Let us take, for example, Boko Haram and Sambisa forest; I am ashamed as an army officer that for 10 years in a land that we call our own, we cannot dissipate a gang of rascals.
“Sambisa Forest is in Nigeria, so we have all the maps to find out what is happening and we should be able to generate enough intelligence from the people, from using electronic gadgets to locate the people where they are exactly, and above that, we can completely isolate that place.
“The people will die of hunger, but we did not do it because the political people wanted it to persist. I believe some people were making money from it, therefore, the longer the thing stays, the more they will make.
“It is not surprising that the former Head of State found it challenging to give an order for their dissipation. Just like I said, you can come to the public and make pronouncements, but when it is time for action, and out in black and white, they will shy away, all because his folks were involved.
“It is the same thing with the South-South, those terrorizing people our people are people who live amongst us. Therefore, we know them but because of political reasons, our governors and our traditional rulers do not take the actions they are supposed to take.
“ If, for instance, the military gets the support they require, it will not take over two weeks to clear Sambisa Forest with the military we have.”
On the connivance of security personnel, Oviawe noted, “It is very possible because a tanker cannot come to a point to steal oil, and military people around there will not know. Even bunkering, before someone can go to the high sea to deliver oil to a ship, people around will know.
“But they are afraid to act because they have not been given specific instructions, at other times, some of them might do under-the-table business and they close their eyes. The lack of proper education seems to have fuelled the attitude.
“The British, when they came here, taught us how and what, but they did not tell us the why. Why did they do that, they wanted to block our thinking capacity, they told us if we press this switch, this light will come on, but why the light should come on, they did not teach us.
“Therefore, if you press the switch, and the light did not come on, we do not know what to do. In school, they taught us to memorize things, but we did not know the practical details of what we have learned.
“Even in religion, they teach us what they say is in the Bible, but they do not go further to tell us why that is in the bible. The day our government agrees that education is our problem, and we restructure our education system and teach our people who we are; why we are what we are, Nigeria will change, and it will happen.
A thief cannot stop another thief–Ambakederimo — N-Delta leader
A prominent Niger Delta leader, Joseph Ambakederimo, stated, “It will be impossible to stop this oil theft. President Bola Tinubu does not know the depth of all the issues and what is going on in the oil sector.”
“Again, they have left too many persons off the hook, they need to debrief and properly inform Mr. President. I am sure he was never briefed on the actual situation of the heinous crime, and criminality being engaged by officers, and men of the armed forces concerning oil theft.
”For this grand theft to stop, he must rejig the Nigerian Navy, Army, and others, and also punish the offenders for their wrongdoings.
“It is not only the military personnel that are involved, officials of the NNPC are deeply involved, ditto the IOCs. It is a well-entrenched cartel with so many connections that it is difficult to find the head.
”There is also theft at the loading terminals. The question to ask here is does Nigeria even know what quantity of oil we pump each day? No one has given very satisfying answers to this question, and we all keep moving on.
“There is what is called topping, this is loading an extra quantity of crude oil onto marine tankers much more than the original quantity that is documented. They pay for the excess in cash.
”Many of these persons given charge by the President to crush the oil thieves are themselves neck deep in the trade, and because the President does not have the real grasp of the issues, he is relying on the same old hands again to tackle a hydra-headed monster for results.
Mr. President must step on toes — Hon Robinson–PANDEF
The Publicity Secretary of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Hon. Ken Robinson, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard in Port-Harcourt, said: “Presently, there is no fight against oil thieves, which is the truth, and it is difficult to stop a crime when there are internal collaborators.”
“The so-called oil theft is multi-dimensional, it has different levels. When they say they are taking 1 million barrels a day, there are verifiable insinuations that they could actually take out 1.5 to 2 million barrels.
“They understate what they take out of Niger Delta. A good example that some people have cited is the former Head of State, the late Sani General Abacha’s loot. He died several years ago, and they are still recovering money. They did not budget the monies; rather they are money from our oil.
“Even today, it is still happening, they say they produce 1.3 m barrels, but they take away 2 million and above barrels.
“There are a group of persons, it is not just the military, not just the international syndicates, it is also about officials in the industry, and government officials in high places even in the presidency.”
“If President Tinubu is serious about it, he can stop it by dealing with the internal and external collaborators.
“Sometime in 2021, the leadership of PENGASAN accused the oil and gas communities of being involved in oil theft, which was ridiculous.
“Some of those union officials, officials of NNPC, operators in the industry, and the IOCs are involved. Therefore, they have to do it with extreme measures, the country is losing. Some individuals or groups of people are turning billionaires every day.
“As we speak today, they take millions of barrels of crude oil out of Nigeria, and the resources from this natural oil do not come to the national purse, it goes to those individuals and groups. This happens every day.
“Not too long ago, I travelled to one community in the Niger Delta, and I saw in broad daylight vessels taking crude escorted by the military, even if it is official, what is the quantity been taken out?
“They will state figures, take out crude and our environment is devastated daily and the people of Niger Delta are not involved and are not benefiting from the resources that have depleted our environment.
“Oil theft is carried out by a collaboration of people, even in the presidency, in the oil industry, and of course, the international collaborators, and the military.
“If the president is serious, he has to offend many people; if he has the political will and capacity to offend several people, but he cannot fight different battles at the same time.
“We will not be talking of putting it to a stop, but to minimize it. Last year, when they gave pipeline surveillance contracts to the ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, and some other persons in the Niger Delta, people were concerned about the dwindling production output when there was no crisis in the Niger Delta, you saw that production improved to 1.3 – 1.5 million barrels per day.
“This was because people were saying this is too much; vessels were coming in and taking crude out of the country. The presidency can reduce it to the barest minimum but there are stakes. Some highly placed persons are involved in it.”
Service chiefs complicit, can’t stop oil theft – Gbemre, activist
Security services provider and activist, Zik Gbemre, noted, “We cannot take Tinubu seriously in his marching orders to the service chiefs. Successive presidents have given similar orders, and read riot acts to the service chiefs to crush oil thieves. What came of it?
”Nothing meaningful, and as they say, you cannot always do the same thing the same way, and expect different results. The Presidential order only indicts the ruling All Progressives, Congress (APC) as confused, and having no solution to the rape of the nation’s commonwealth through oil theft.
”When Tinubu’s predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari approved multi-billion naira pipeline surveillance contracts to ex-militant leaders, he was actually expressing disappointment in the service chiefs’ failure to deal with the problem. Therefore, why is Tinubu relying on the same failed service chiefs?
”If Tinubu means well and is desirous of making a difference, he should do what successive presidents have failed to do, which is exert consequence management against key actors, promoting oil theft.
“Security chiefs are being indicted; even former Governor Nyesom Wike indicted several of them in the military, Police, and NSCDC in his short-lived offensive against oil thieves and illegal refineries.
“But none of those indicted is being prosecuted. All the authorities did is transferring indicted personnel.
“Tinubu must develop the will to apply stiff sanctions when those entrusted to protect the oil and gulping huge security votes while the crime is sustained.
“Sacking and appointing new service chiefs is not enough. People should get tried and punished,” the activist added.
Painstakingly appraise issues at stake –Nsuke, MOSOP president
President of the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Fegalo Nsuke, opined that President Tinubu might not make sense of his intervention without first evaluating the inconsistencies and oddities he inherited.
”The award of surveillance contracts to private security contractors, PSCs, in the Niger Delta suggested that the government did not trust its military, and instead considered private companies more effective in dealing with pipeline vandalism. This is untrue. The military is far more capable of dealing with these issues, given their support to private firms.
”Government did not really act right in awarding this contract to the private security companies. It is ironic and sheer hypocrisy that on the one hand, the government says it will deal with pipeline vandals; but on the other, it is patronizing the vandals.
”I see these contracts award as encouragement to pipeline vandals and a message to law-abiding youths of the region, telling them that taking up arms against the state and destroying public facilities is the way to go if you want big government patronage.”
”Federal Government is deliberately militarizing the Niger Delta, destroying the Delta by the wrong decisions they take without considering the impact on social security and the future of the youths.
”I will advise a cut in government spending and for more investments in the people’s future, creating jobs, building infrastructure, and strengthening the security structures to do their jobs to discourage oil theft.”
Concurring with Nsuke, an asset security team leader in one of the marginal fields, said: “As an organized crime, oil theft is not perpetrated by a gang of friends or loafers. They are syndicates of shared contributors. It involves big illegal oil exporters, who tap from the lines into vessels to trans-load into illegal export vessels or feed local clandestine refineries.
”Oil theft is a conspiracy of the military, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Police, NNPCL, host communities collaborators, vandalized asset repairs’ contractors, and surveillance contractors. The same key actors entrusted to fight the crime are the ones stealing the oil.”
Make a public show of oil thieves –Jalingo, activist
Human rights activist, and journalist, Agba Jalingo, expressed optimism that Tinubu could stop oil thieves if he will make an example with a few openly.
His words: “There is nobody, who is politically conscious that does not know that oil thieves are government people, including military generals, politicians, and non-state actors, that are stealing our oil, as a cartel.
”Admirals, in particular, should be dealt with, rotten eggs amongst our top-ranking officers should be flushed out, and the government’s use of non-state actors is absurd.
“President Tinubu can stop oil thieves in a matter of months if they are serious, everyone who is politically conscious knows exactly what is going on, there are no two ways about it.
”Once he grabs two or three persons, and gives them a public trial, the cabal will know it is no longer business as usual.
”In the past 25 years, the cartel has grown, using violence to assert their authority and trying, by all means, to show capacity, all to steal our oil. Bola Tinubu can stop them by equipping the Navy and flushing out the bad eggs amongst the top military cadre
“For instance, the grandstanding by people like Asari Dokubo is just because Tompolo was given a contract, therefore, he, too, wants his own, but if the President means business, it is just a matter of a month, all these economic saboteurs will be cut to size.
“It is his willingness to fight them to a standstill that will determine if he is truly interested because the people involved are one way or the other in the government, either as military or government officials (politicians), as well as non-state actors,” Agba said.
Fight oil thieves with technology –Enisuoh, Tantita
The Executive Director of Operations and Technical of the Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, TSSNL, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, speaking on the second phase of operations by the Tompolo-operated surveillance company, said: “Every pipeline known to be active has had illegal connections on them.”
“We do not want a situation where we are going to react to people building illegal refineries or people doing illegal connections to the pipeline, we want to prevent that, so phase two should be technology-based.
“Anything that is technology based is at a high level and is expensive. Therefore, we want the incoming administration to put the technology in place to prevent crude oil theft. We should stop oil thieves from attacking the nation’s pipelines.
“If we lose ground, it will be difficult to regain what we have gained today. It is impossible to do the job without the security forces, Army, Police, DSS, Airforce, Navy, etc. We should not be reactive, but proactive in combating oil thieves.
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NLC, TUC Suspend Planned Strike For 30 Days
NLC, TUC Suspend Planned Strike For 30 Days
… .FG To Pay Workers N35,000
.. Sign 15-point agreement with FG
Organised labour have suspended its planned nationwide indefinite strike action for the next month.
This was contained in a memorandum of understanding signed Monday by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja; as well as the TUC President, Festus Osifo, and Secretary General, Nuhu Toro.
The three-page document was also signed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Dr Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; and Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris.
“The NLC and TUC accept to suspend for 30 days the planned Indefinite Nationwide strike scheduled to begin, Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023,” the MoU reads in part.
“The Federal Government grants a wage award of N35,000 (thirty-five thousand
Naira) only to all Federal Government workers beginning from the month of
September pending when a new national minimum wage is expected to have
been signed into law.”
The decisions come at the end of an hours-long meeting between the Federal Government, NLC, and the TUC on Monday.
See the full MoU below:
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING REACHED BETWEEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA AND THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS (NLC) AND TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF NIGERIA (TUC) AS A RESULT OF DISPUTE ARISING FROM WITHDRAWAL OF SUBSIDY ON THE PRICE OF PREMIUM MOTOR SPIRIT (PMS) ON MONDAY, THE 2ND DAY OF OCTOBER, 2023
Arising from the withdrawal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the Federal Government and the resultant increase in the price of the commodity, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) issued a strike notice which had elapsed and they were poised to embark on a strike billed to commence on Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023. Consequently, a meeting was called by the Federal Government to avert the strike and after much discussion, the following agreements were reached:
The Federal Government grants a wage award of N35,000 (thirty-five thousand Naira) only to all Federal Government workers beginning from the month of September pending when a new national minimum wage is expected to have been signed into law.
A minimum wage committee shall be inaugurated within one month from the date of this agreement.
Federal Government suspends collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Diesel for six months beginning from October, 2023.
Federal Government accepts to vote N100 billion for the provision of high capacity CNG buses for mass transit in Nigeria. Provisions are also being made for initial 55,000 CNG conversion kits to kick start an auto gas conversion programme, whilst work is ongoing on state-of-the-art CNG stations nationwide. The rollout aims to commence by November with pilots across 10 campuses nationwide.
The Federal Government plans to implement various tax incentive measures for private sector and the general public.
On the leadership crises rocking the NURTW and the purported proscription of RTEAN, the Federal Government commits to handling Labour matters in line with relevant ILO Conventions and Nigerian Labour Acts. A resolution of the ongoing impasse is expected by or before October 13.
The issue of outstanding Salaries and Wages of Tertiary Education workers in Federal-owned educational institutions is being referred to Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement.
The Federal Government commits to pay N25,000 per month for three months starting from October, 2023 to 15 million households, including vulnerable pensioners.
The Federal Government will increase its initiatives on subsidized distribution of fertilizers to farmers across the country.
The Federal Government should urge State Government through the National Economic Council and Governors Forum to implement wage award for their workers. Similar consideration should also be given to local government and private sector workers.
The Federal Government commits to the provision of funds as announced by the President on the 1st of August broadcast to the Nation for Micro and Small Scale Enterprises. The MSMEs beneficiaries should commit to the principle of decent jobs.
A joint visitation will be made to the refineries to ascertain their rehabilitation status.
All parties commit to henceforth abide by the dictates of Social dialogue in all our future engagements.
The NLC and TUC accept to suspend for 30 days the planned Indefinite Nationwide strike scheduled to begin, Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023.
This Memorandum shall be filed with the relevant Court of competent jurisdiction within one (1) week as consent judgment by the Federal Government.
Comrade Joe Ajaero
Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, mni
Comrade (Engr) Festus Osifo
Comrade Nuhu A. Toro
H.E. Simon Bako Lalong
Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment
Hon. Dr Nkeiruka Onyejeocha
Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment
Mallam Mohammed Idris
Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation
Nigeria At 63: Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodima Calls For Peace & Unity
Hope Uzodima Calls For Peace & Unity
IMO state governor, Hope Uzodima has called for peace and unity among the people of Nigeria in a statement he made to commemorate Nigeria’s 63rd independence anniversary.
“Today, we commemorate not just a historic event, but the unyielding spirit, resilience, and unity of our people in the face of numerous challenges and triumphs. Therefore, it is both an honor and a privilege to address you on this auspicious occasion of our great nation’s 63rd Independence Day anniversary.
This day, 63 years ago, marked the beginning of our journey towards independence and since then, we have made significant strides in various aspects of our nation’s development. As a diverse and vibrant tapestry of cultures, traditions and aspirations, we have weathered storms and celebrated victories together as a nation, always standing tall in the face of adversity.
I commend the indomitable spirit of our people who have shown resilience in the face of adversity and I want to assure you that my administration remains committed to addressing the pressing issues that affects the State, in collaboration with the Federal Government. We are working tirelessly to improve healthcare, education, infrastructure and security, among other vital sectors, to ensure a better quality of life for all.
As we raise our flags and sing our national anthem, let us do so with pride, knowing that our best days are yet to come. Let us use this Independence Day as an opportunity to renew our commitment to the ideals of unity, peace, and progress. Together, we can overcome any obstacle and realize the full potential of Nigeria.
Happy 63rd Independence Day, Nigeria! May our nation continue to flourish and may our State prosper.”
– Hope Uzodimma
Tinubu’s Minister Poisoned In Abuja
Popular Tinubu’s Minister Poisoned In Abuja
Nigerian tourism minister has been hospitalised in Abuja after suffering acute poisoning from unknown origins, her family members fear time was running against their efforts to save her life.
Tinubu’s Minister, Lola Ade-John, 60, was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, shortly after she started manifesting symptoms of her poisoning, according to family sources familiar with her ordeal. She has spent four days at the facility as of Friday morning.
Ms Ade-John, a career banker and tech investor, has been on a machine to aid her breathing, our sources said. The specifics as to what substance she ingested and how could not be immediately established. The police and the State Security Service did not immediately return a request on whether or not any investigations had been opened into the matter.
Her worsening situation has further set the family against the government, with the permanent secretary of her ministry said to be in disagreement as to whether she should continue receiving treatment at a public hospital or be moved to a better-equipped private facility downtown.
The permanent secretary, Ngozi Onwudike, was said to have insisted that the minister should not be transferred because the FMC is a public hospital and its services wouldn’t attract substantial charges to the government, a position her family rebuffed. But they remained with her as they could not raise funds to move her to a private hospital, our sources said. A phone number for the permanent secretary did not connect on Friday morning.
Ms Ade-John was appointed as a minister by President Bola Tinubu in August. She was immediately touted as one of the few cabinet members appointed from outside the political beltway. She was based in London for years before she was asked to return to the country to serve by the president.
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