There are strong indications that some personnel of the Nigerian Navy and other security operatives undertaking special operations in the creeks of Niger Delta, may be aiding crude oil theft and other illegal refining activities by suspected economic saboteurs.
Investigation by New Telegraph revealed that the development is facilitated through the alleged collusion of the said personnel with criminal elements, who engage in the acts of economic sabotage against the nation.
A highly-placed source, who spoke on the issue on the condition of anonymity owing to its sensitivity, said the illegal refining business has continued, because a certain percentage of what accrues therefrom is allegedly paid to the complicit personnel.
He claimed that such “settlement” is made either on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the understanding between the two parties involved in the deal at any material time.
The conduct of these few “bad eggs” among the security circle has continued to impact negatively on ongoing efforts by the military and other relevant authorities to substantially deal with all forms of criminality in the nation’s maritime domain.
The source, who is a member of the Domestic Refineries Owners’ Association of Nigeria, being a union of illegal refiners, said: “Before now, we used to have a cordial relationship, not only with the Navy people, but almost all the security agencies.
“They will allow us to embark on what they term as illegal refinery; at the end of the day, we will be paying them certain percentage at the end of the production.” Asked how the said payment was made, he explained thus: “At times we pay them weekly, at times we pay them daily.”
Another source, who spoke in similar vein, however, said they would appeal to government to consider the establishment of modular refineries, to regularise their activities.
He added that the need had become more compelling against the backdrop of what he said was order from “superior” to demobilise and deactivate the illegal refining sites.
His words: “But, having looked at it critically on our own part, we discovered that we are losing because, there are times, even having a dialogue with them (security personnel), their superior will come, give order and they will come and dismantle the thing (illegal refinery