The impounded vessel of stolen crude oil set ablaze in Delta

Crude oil theft: Destruction of vessels by military to conceal evidence — Lawmaker

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By Deborah Coker

Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta), says the destruction of vessels apprehended for carrying illegal goods/stolen crude oil by the military is to conceal/destroy evidence.

Nwoko said this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He stressed that destroying what should be used as evidence for crime committed did not make any sense, except those expected to prevent the crime were complicit and compromised.

According to him, crude oil pipeline vandalism and destruction of vessels carrying illegal goods/stolen crude oil, did not make any sense.

“What is the point? It does not make any sense.

“You know, if somebody is found in possession of stolen goods, do you say, oh, the way to deal with this is to destroy it? No. You take it from them, you document it, you preserve it, you charge the culprits.

“And then you produce that in evidence against them in court and then ultimately return that product to the owner.”

The lawmaker who is also a member of the Senate Committee, Upstream Petroleum, added that the only reason the military destroyed vessels apprehended for crude oil theft/lifting was to destroy evidence, because their was compromise.

“Well, I think the military are complicit. You know the reason they do this, because some of them might have compromised.

“They have been bought over because to load this kind of commodity vessels- the crude – it takes weeks sometimes because of the size of the vessels, it takes time.

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“So it’s not as if you just come one hour, you load it and then you run. So it takes time to get to the point of loading, and most of them are actually loaded from the official platforms.

“So who are those involved? Who are those managing those platforms? The oil companies, The producing companies, NNPC officials, the police, may be all of them are involved.

“You know what is common with these personnel, I mean the joint task force; within a very short period of time, they are all rich. They are all buying houses or buying cars or buying everything you know. So yeah, they have compromised.

“That is the only reason why I think they cannot wait for the vessels to be investigated, but rather destroy the evidence because they know it can lead to them. They destroy them, they burn them,” Nwoko said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Idris Abdulrahman

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