Nigerian Navy seized N420 billion petroleum products in 2016 – Official

Naval boat

The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday said it seized 810,725 metric tonnes of stolen crude in 2016.

It also seized 1,078,104 metric tonnes of illegally-refined diesel and destroyed 181 illegal refineries during the same period.

The Navy put the financial worth of the seized crude oil and diesel at N420.1billion, excluding the value of vessels, boats and vehicles it seized.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe-Ibas, disclosed the figures in Abuja when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Navy to defend its 2017 budget proposals.

Mr. Ekwe-Ibas, giving further details of the 2016 operations, said that 38 barges and 263 wooden boats were destroyed.

He added that his officials also impounded 53 boats, arrested 784 suspects, confiscated 145 outboard engines and 135 speedboats.

Other seizures and arrests were, 2,97 drums; 4,753 jerry cans; 27 trucks; 47 vehicles; 15 motorcycles; 139 geepee tanks; and 224 surface tanks.

In addition, the navy chief said that 468 arms and 1,659 ammunition were seized.

Mr. Ekwe-Ibas, a vice admiral, told the committee that the service recorded the achievements from an overhead budget of only N2.5 billion.

“The implication of this is that with improved overhead funding, the service will be able to enhance its operational profile, while proactively deterring, interdicting criminality in the nation’s maritime domain,” he said.

Mr. Ekwe-Ibas, stressing on the poor funding of the Navy, cited the case of the N225 billion voted as capital budget in 2016, out of which only N10billion had been released as of January 31.

For 2017, he said, while the initial capital estimates of the service was N317.6 billion, it was asked to review it downward to N26.7billion being the ceiling given by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

He explained that the service proposed to spend N15 billion on fleet renewal this year and another N4.2billion to upgrade infrastructure.

Earlier, in his remarks, Chairman of the committee, Abdussamad Dasuki, disclosed that inadequate funding of Nigerian Navy had resulted in an annual economic loss of N3 trillion by the country.

Mr. Dasuki noted that from the committee ‘s findings, the country lost about $10 billion annually or N3 trillion due to the poor funding of the service.

“The loss of revenue from the inability of the Navy to carry out its duties is enormous and has been estimated to be over $10 billion or N3 trillion annually.

“There is therefore an urgent need to ensure that budgetary allocations to the Nigerian Navy is realistic and allows it function effectively.

“It is in our national interest to do so,” he said. (NAN)

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