In a potentially contentious development, former Niger Delta militant leader, Asari Dokubo, has accused the Nigerian armed forces, particularly the Army and Navy, of being responsible for 99 percent of oil theft and bunkering activities in the Niger Delta region. While the Defence Headquarters and the Nigerian Army have yet to respond to Dokubo’s allegations, the Nigerian Navy has called on the ex-militant leader to provide concrete evidence, including names and other supporting facts, to substantiate his claims of military officers’ involvement in crude oil theft.
Dokubo made these serious allegations during a press briefing at the presidential villa in Abuja after a meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He asserted that the Army and Navy intimidate the operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), whose mandate is to safeguard the oil pipelines. These accusations come in the wake of Tinubu’s directive to the Service Chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies to combat oil theft, emphasizing that his administration will not tolerate such criminal activities.
During his meeting with the Service Chiefs and intelligence heads, the President had expressed his commitment to preventing insecurity from undermining Nigeria’s progress, while highlighting the achievements of other nations in vital sectors of their economies. In his interactions with journalists after the meeting, Dokubo claimed that notorious naval commanders are the masterminds behind oil theft and bunkering activities. He argued that even if substantial contracts were awarded to combat these crimes, they would prove ineffective due to the armed support provided by the Army and Navy to these criminal elements.
Dokubo further disclosed that he has volunteered to assist in ending this menace and expressed confidence in the protective measures that will be provided by the Tinubu administration. He criticized the military for claiming to lack sufficient armaments to tackle insecurity while allegedly forfeiting their weapons to insurgents. Dokubo insisted that Nigeria is currently embroiled in full-scale wars in different parts of the country, extending beyond the Boko Haram insurgency.
The former militant leader emphasized that he has been actively involved in combating insecurity in various regions, alongside the government of the Nigerian State. Dokubo called for the prosecution of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), arguing that releasing him would perpetuate a culture of impunity.