A traditional ruler and Chairman of the Bayelsa Traditional Rulers Council, His royal majesty Bubaraye Dakolo, has claimed that the vessel carrying stolen crude oil, bound for Cameroon, was intentionally set on fire in order to prevent the identification and investigation of the “Real oil thieves.”
During an interview on Arise TV’s The Morning Show, the monarch criticized the decision to burn the vessel, stating that it resulted in wasteful expenditure of Nigeria’s resources.
Earlier, it was reported that security agencies had intercepted a vessel on the escravos sea in Delta state, which was laden with 150 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil. Subsequently, the authorities set the vessel ablaze.
Tantita Executive Director on Technical Operations, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, told journalists that:” The whole idea of destroying the vessel is to send a strong message to all would-be investors that this is what they are to face if they do this type of business.”
However, countering the assertion, the Bayelsa monarch contended that the ship had been intentionally set ablaze as a means to protect the oil thieves.
Dakolo said, “I can tell you for free that that vehicle (vessel) was burnt because it was cheaper to burn it than to bring in the oil thieves that (are) behind it all.
“Usually, what Nigeria has done in the last several decades is to parade a young, helpless, improperly-educated, jobless youth from the Niger Delta as the typical thief. But I argue that such a person shouldn’t be called a thief, he should be rehabilitated. He belongs to a place where you have to educate him, re-orientate him, and make him a patriotic Nigerian. He is a victim of oil thieves.”
He added that “the real thief of oil is someone who has a yacht, someone who has a golf course; it’s someone who cannot sleep a night in the Niger Delta because of mosquitoes and insecurity. It’s someone who has property in London, in Banana Island, in Abuja, in Frankfurt, in New York City. Those are the thieves.”
The monarch also made an allegation that “every one that is in authority knows them (the oil thieves).”
“They’re well-known. Those in authority, I can bet you, they know who does it and who does not do it. And the reason why they prefer to present the face of a young uneducated, unemployed person from the Niger Delta as a thief is to distract the world.”
He said it was economically unwise to burn the vessel.
“To put it clearly, that is about 1.6 million barrels, and that amount to around $100m which runs into billions of Naira. That is the amount or value of what was inside there (the intercepted vessel).”
King Dakolo went on to claim that the Nigerian authorities and security agencies possessed prior knowledge of the crude oil loading. He emphasized that it would have been impossible to load such a significant amount of crude oil without their awareness.
“That is approximately what Nigeria produces in a day – about 1.8 million barrels. It takes a while to load the whole of that volume. And, so, definitely, it must have been loaded somewhere that is an authorized loading bay.
“so, the authorities of the NNPC were supposed to know, and I think they know. And, then, of course, usually in all of those places there are law enforcement (agents) at the terminal. So, definitely, all of these agencies knew that this was taking place,” He said.