Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Tuesday, said the Nigerian Navy has failed in its constitutional role of protecting the nation’s maritime borders and bringing oil thieves to book and therefore should be restructured and unbundled.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, also demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari sacks the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo for his perpetual inability to tame the multibillion-dollar oil theft business ongoing in the Niger Delta and other oil-producing places.
The group said it is shameful that having realised the Navy’s failure, the Federal Government awarded a pipeline surveillance contract to a former militant leader, Government Ekpemepulo popularly known as Tompolo.
HURIWA’s comments followed the Nigerian Navy’s recent defence of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited over “insincere and exaggerated oil theft figures”.
Recall that a representative of the Navy while appearing at the Senate Committee on the Economic and Financial Crimes, had said the NNPC deliberately continues to mislead Nigerians on the issue of crude oil theft.
But in a subsequent statement, the Navy claimed that what transpired at a recent interactive hearing before the Senate Committee on Economic and Financial Crimes was completely misconstrued by the media.
However, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The defence of the Nigerian Navy trying to excuse its failure regarding oil theft, illegal artisan refineries and illegal oil bunkering amongst other criminalities in the creek is embarrassing and shameful, to say the least.
“The 1999 Constitution, the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 and the National Defence Policy 2006 empowered the Nigerian Navy with the defence of the nation’s maritime borders and general security on water. But the Navy has failed woefully to nab oil thieves”.