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Oil theft: Reps probe Navy, security contractors’ clashes

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The House of Representatives is set to wade into the frequent clashes between officers and men of the Nigerian Navy and private security firms protecting oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region.

The resolution by the lawmakers followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by the lawmaker representing Ilaye/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency, Ondo State, Mr Donald Ojogo, during plenary session on Thursday.

His motion was titled: “Need for the House to promptly wade into the incessant cases of conflicts between the Nigerian Navy and private security outfits engaged by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to protect oil and gas assets.”

Ojogo noted that the Nigerian Navy, as a statutory national security agency and an arm of the three Armed Forces of the country, had the mandate “to protect Nigeria’s national assets, including the nation’s oil and gas infrastructure across the water belts of the country covering inland, onshore and offshore waters.”

He expressed his concern about recent clashes between the Navy and some private security outfits engaged by the government to protect oil facilities.

He said: “Just last week, there was a reported case of an exchange of gunfire between men of the Nigerian Navy and operatives of a private security outfit on the coastal waters of Ondo State and parties involved adduced or advanced reasons for their actions and inactions with accusations and counter-accusations.

“The House is worried that if this trend continues, an unachievable oil output projection looms ahead of the 2024 fiscal year and that the implications of such development on the economy will be negative.”

Following the adoption of the motion, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, on behalf of his colleagues, mandated the House Special Committee on Oil Theft in The Niger Delta to investigate the cause(s) of the endless rivalry and conflict of operational responsibilities between the Nigerian Navy and concerned private security firms engaged by the NNPCL and report its findings to parliament for further legislative action.

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