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Military Officers Behind Oil Theft – Clark

Military officers behind oil theft – Clark
Former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark

Elder statesman and First Republic Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, on Tuesday in Abuja ignited a fresh controversy at the National Conference when he berated retired and serving military officers for engaging in illegal oil bunkering in the Niger- Delta.

He also suggested the engagement of youths in the protection of pipelines and constant changing of military troops in the Niger-Delta to reduce oil theft.

Clark said he had reported his findings to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo who directed the then Minister of Defence, Theophilus Danjuma, to investigate the involvement of the military in the matter.

Clark, a delegate representing the Federal Government, made the accusation at the plenary of the Confab while contributing to the report of the Committee on Public Finance and Revenue chaired by a former Governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Adamu Aliero on Tuesday.

He said, “The military officers who are in Niger-Delta have a hand in stealing this oil. I made this point to President Olusegun Obasanjo and he asked Danjuma who was there as a Minister of Defence to look through and he went and found out that it was true.

“So, some of these military officers either retired or serving officers, what I will suggest is that the troops in the Niger-Delta should be changed from time to time. In doing so, you will find that the stealing of oil will be reduced.”

While supporting the total removal of oil subsidy, the Ijaw leader went historical and narrated how in 1972 as the Commissioner for Finance in the defunct Mid-Western State, he travelled with former President Shehu Shagari who was then Federal Commissioner for Finance to Forcados terminal where Nigeria crude oil was being exported.

He said at Forcados it was discovered that government officials were more interested in what they would gain than in protecting the interest of the country.

He also said that it had been difficult ascertaining how much oil was being taken away from Nigeria, through theft, saying that it had been published in newspapers.

Clark said, “In 1972, as a Commissioner for Finance in the old Mid-West, I travelled with President Shehu Shagari who was the then Federal Commissioner of Finance to Forcados Island where our crude oil was being exported. We discovered that the government officials, who were there, were more interested in what they could get than protecting the interest of Nigeria. That is, you hardly knew how much oil was being taking away from our shores. It was published in the newspapers; till today, I do believe that if you go to Forcados terminal, the same story will be told.”

According to him, youths from the area only embark on “bucket bunkering” is in a small scale as they don’t possess the technological expertise required for such operation.

He said, “But the real thieves are those who came from abroad; we are talking about oil theft, I have always said that our young men at home do bucket bunkering. They have no facility, they also lack the technology, but those who steal this oil are people who come from abroad. Have we forgotten the case where three admirals were fully involved? They were court-martialled.”

Source - The Punch

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