The Nigerian Navy has vehemently denied the allegations made against the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, describing them as baseless and untenable. The accusations, published in the Peoples’ Gazette, implicated Ogalla in facilitating unorganized bunkering of Nigerian crude and involvement in multimillion-naira contract-splitting fraud. He was also accused of releasing impounded oil tankers transporting stolen crude oil in exchange for substantial kickbacks.
The allegations prompted the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, to announce that they would be thoroughly investigated. However, the Nigerian Navy has refuted these claims, stating that the arrested vessels mentioned in the report, which were involved in crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering, have not been released.
Rear Admiral Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the Director of Information for the Nigerian Navy, emphasized that there are established procedural requirements for the arrest, detention, and release of vessels and individuals in the maritime environment. He clarified that these processes must be duly concluded before any vessels can be released to prosecuting agencies.
Ayo-Vaughan also stressed that the Chief of Naval Staff does not have the authority to award oil bunkering contracts, as this prerogative lies with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL). He highlighted that all contracts awarded by the Navy follow due process in compliance with the laws of the Federation.
Furthermore, the Nigerian Navy reiterated its commitment to its constitutional responsibilities, particularly in monitoring the maritime domain of the nation and enforcing maritime laws and the SPOMO Act 2019. Ayo-Vaughan accused certain individuals described as disgruntled elements of attempting to blackmail Vice Admiral Ogalla due to the Navy’s intensified efforts against crude oil theft and illegal activities in the maritime domain.
Despite these allegations, the Nigerian Navy remains steadfast in its mission to combat oil theft and illegalities in the maritime environment, as evidenced by the recent launch of OPERATION DELTA SANITY. The Navy’s priority is to ensure the security and prosperity of the nation, and it will not be deterred by baseless allegations.
The Nigerian Navy called upon the public to disregard the malicious publication, labeling it as untrue and completely baseless, originating from the imagination of the writer, publishers, and their undisclosed sponsors. The Navy remains resolute in its pursuit of justice and the protection of Nigeria’s economy.