Niger Delta leader and former agitator, Mujahid Asari Dokubo, has accused the Nigerian Army and Navy of being at the center of oil theft plaguing the oil region.
Addressing reporters after a closed-door meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa, Asari made a shocking claim, alleging that 99 percent of oil theft can be traced back to the military.
Asari stated, “The military is at the center of oil theft, and we have to make this very clear to the Nigerian public, especially the Army and Navy.”
The former Niger Delta agitator pledged his support to the Federal Government in its efforts to bring oil theft to “zero,” expressing his belief that the Tinubu-led administration would identify and apprehend the culpable elements within the military.
In April, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative revealed that the country had lost a staggering 619.7 million barrels of crude oil, valued at N16.25tn, to theft between 2009 and 2020.
Furthermore, the agency’s data showed that Nigeria had spent over N13tn ($74 billion) on fuel subsidies from 2005 to 2021.
During his meeting with President Tinubu, Asari emphasized that oil theft and security were the focal points of their nearly two-hour discussion.
He assured the new administration of his unwavering support in achieving “zero” oil theft in the Niger Delta.
“Myself and my brothers have assured the President that there will be zero oil theft and vandalization in the Niger Delta.
“We’re going to work with the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation Limited (NPPCL) and the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to ensure that oil tapping is eradicated completely,” Asari said.
In addition to addressing oil theft, Asari criticized the narrative that the military lacked the necessary resources to combat terrorism, banditry, and militancy effectively.
He denounced it as a form of “blackmail” and asserted, “The blackmail of the Nigerian state by the Nigerian military is shameful.
“They claim they do not have enough armament, but this is a false narrative that must end. They have ample resources to fight these battles.”
While Asari acknowledged the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), he expressed concerns that it could exacerbate tensions in the South-East region rather than alleviate them.
Citing Kanu’s alleged role in fueling the EndSARS protests, Asari argued that releasing him would be tantamount to rewarding criminality and the gruesome murder of innocent people, asserting that Kanu should face the law for his actions and instigations.
President Tinubu’s meeting with Asari is part of his ongoing consultations with opinion leaders from the Niger Delta region.
Last week, the President held discussions with other key figures, including Timi Alaibe, the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, and Dr. Dakuku Peterside.