Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ned Nwoko (PDP, Delta State), has raised concerns about the destruction of vessels apprehended for carrying illegal goods, particularly stolen crude oil, by the Nigerian military. The senator believes that this action is taken to conceal or destroy crucial evidence related to oil theft.
The lawmaker made this known during a recent interface with journalists in Abuja.
Senator Nwoko asserted that destroying vessels, which could serve as vital evidence in cases of illegal oil trafficking and theft, is counterproductive. He insisted that such actions make no sense unless there is complicity and compromise among those tasked with preventing these crimes.
He emphasized the need to preserve and document seized vessels and their contents, instead of destroying them. This evidence could then be used to charge the culprits and present a compelling case in court, ultimately leading to the return of the stolen product to its rightful owner.
Furthermore, Senator Nwoko expressed his belief that the military’s motivation for destroying these vessels is to eliminate evidence due to their alleged involvement in illegal activities.
He suggested that some military personnel may have been compromised, as the process of loading crude oil onto these vessels takes time and involves multiple stakeholders, including oil companies, NNPC officials, the police, and potentially more.
The senator pointed out that the rapid accumulation of wealth among some members of the joint task force responsible for combating oil theft raises suspicions. Many of them acquire properties and expensive items shortly after their involvement in such cases, indicating potential compromise and corruption.
Senator Nwoko’s allegations highlight the urgency of addressing this issue and ensuring that proper investigations and evidence preservation are carried out to combat illegal oil activities effectively.