By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Navy has stopped the theft of petroleum products worth almost N2 billion (precisely N1.992 billion )between June 1 and 12, 2022.
The spokesman of the agency, Mr Commodore A. Ayo-Vaughan, stated this in a press release, saying this was part of Operation Dakatar Da Barawo (OPDDB).
According to the statement, “On June 1, 2022, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) PATHFINDER at Rivers State conducted a swamp buggy operation in some identified IRS during which 13 refining ovens, 6 reservoirs and 2 storage tanks were destroyed. Additionally, the IRS operators had abandoned 2 gas cylinders and fled at the sight of the Navy. The gas cylinders were handled appropriately. Similarly, NNS DELTA at Warri located and deactivated an IRS within a creek around Omadino Community in Warri South LGA of Delta State. The site had 7 ovens, 8 metal storage tanks and 2 pits cumulatively laden with about 3,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and about 6,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO. The site and products were neutralized appropriately. Also, 4 pumping machines and one 40hp outboard engine was recovered from the site.
“Also, on June 2, 2022, NNS SOROH arrested 2 trucks laden with suspected illegally sourced sludge at Opolo area in Yenagoa. The trucks were enroute Koko in Delta State without valid documents and approvals. A total of 5 suspects were therefore apprehended and in custody for later hand over for prosecution.
“Similarly, on June 3, 2022, NNS PATHFINDER discovered several IRS at Bukuma in Degema Creek and Creek 6 in Rivers State. There were 6 storage tanks and 3 massive pits filled with unspecified quantity of AGO and crude oil respectively. These were all neutralized.
“Furthermore, on June 5, 2022, NNS DELTA deactivated an IRS at Tebijo in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State. The IRS had 6 ovens, 11 metal storage tanks and 2 pits cumulatively filled with about 80,000 litres of stolen crude oil and about 150,000 litres of illegally refined AGO. Also, about 3,000 litres of illegally refined AGO in stored/hauled in sacks were destroyed. Likewise, 2 pumping machines were recovered and handled appropriately.
“Meanwhile, on June 6, 2022, NNS DELTA raided an IRS around Ikantu bush in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State. During the raid, 15 storage tanks, 3 ovens and 2 pits collectively filled with about 70,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and about 250,000 litres of stolen crude oil were all destroyed. Further exploitation of the area led to the discovery of another IRS around Ekpugbene Creek in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State. The site had 2 ovens, 7 metal storage tanks and one pit all filled with about 65,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 80,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. Also, 3 oxy-acetylene cylinders and one pumping machine were discovered at the site. Accordingly, the site was deactivated while the 3 gas cylinders and one pumping machine were recovered from the site. Relatedly, an IRS adjacent to the location which had 15 ovens, 8 metal storage tanks, 5 surface storage tanks and one pit collectively, containing about 360,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 225,000 litres of stolen crude oil were destroyed accordingly.
“On June 7, 2022, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa, arrested 3 fibre boats (1 x 115hp and 2 x 75hp) and each boat operator at Ekpetiama in Amassoma Community. The boats were cumulatively laden with about 10,000 litres of illegally refined AGO. The boats and suspects were subsequently taken into custody. Similarly, NNS PATHFINDER uncovered an illegal crude oil loading point at Cawthorne Channel 2, Off new Calabar River. Several wooden boats were apparently siphoning/stealing crude oil from a well head within the vicinity. It was further discovered that the supply point serves as the major source of crude oil for the notorious ‘Market Square’.
“Accordingly, the identified illegal cooking camps and wooden ‘Cotonou’ boats were deactivated. Thereafter, the Base established a waterborne guard post at the point, while awaiting the arrival of NNPC technical experts to secure the well head to prevent further loss/theft.
“Furthermore, on June 8, 2022, NNS DELTA located an IRS around Ajigbera Creek in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State. The site had 13 metal storage tanks and 9 ovens cumulatively laden with about 60,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO and about 100,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. Accordingly, the sites were deactivated while 4 pumping machines were recovered to the Base.
“Relatedly, on June 9, 2022, NNS DELTA raided a previously deactivated IRS at Ovuleye in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State along Egwa Creek. The IRS was observed to be active and illegal refining activities had re-commenced. The IRS had 10 ovens, 8 metal storage tanks and 6 surface storage tanks collectively, laden with about 250,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 150,000 litres of stolen crude oil. Also, 3 pumping machines were discovered at the site.
“The IRS was again, deactivated and the products were handled appropriately. On the same day, NNS PATHFINDER discovered 2 massive wooden boats at Creek 6 in Kalibiama laden with an unspecified quantity of suspected stolen crude oil. The large wooden boats and the products were handled appropriately. Additionally, 2 large pumping machines were confiscated at the scene and brought back to own location for safe custody.”
Senate Threatens to Withhold 2023 Capital Budget of State House, Others
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Senate has threatened to withhold the 2023 capital budget of 100 federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) until they answer the queries raised against them by the Auditor General for the Federation.
Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, issued this threat on the floor of the upper chamber of the National Assembly on Wednesday while ruling on a point of order.
The threat followed a point of order raised by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Matthew Urhoghide, who informed his colleagues that some agencies refused to appear before the team despite invitations sent to them.
Some of the MDAs include the State House, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministries of Interior, Transportation, Mines and Solid Mineral Development, Information, Communication, Petroleum, Defence, Police Affairs, and Sports.
Others are Works and Housing, Women Affairs, the State House, Presidential Fleet, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Independent National Electoral Commission, North East Development Commission, Nigerian Intelligence Agency, and the Nigerian Air Force, among others.
The queries covered in the auditor general’s report are from 2015-2018.
Speaking, Mr Lawan upheld Mr Urhoghide’s point of order and insisted that the public officers who utilised funds appropriated to their MDAs must give account.
He said, “Your point of order is sustained fully and completely, totally sustained; you are right on the dot to bring to the plenary your grievances.
“Secondly, I once served as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for eight years. My only problem is when you write agencies, and they refuse to honour the invite, you’d many times be forced to bring them through a warrant of arrest.
“Reading this list at plenary gives the agencies the opportunity to know now if they were not aware before for those that may claim ignorance.”
The Senate then gave the agencies a one-week deadline to communicate with the committee and set a date to appear before them or have their capital budgets withheld.
“I am taking the opportunity here to advise that in the next one week, if the name of any agency is here, that agency should reach the Committee on Public Accounts of the Senate to sort out when the agency would appear before the committee.
“If there is no communication whatsoever and no cogent and verifiable reason are given, we will slash the agencies’ budget.”
EFCC Auctions 435 Cars in Lagos [Photos]
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
About 435 cars will be auctioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Lagos between Wednesday, December 7 and Thursday, December 8, 2022.
A statement issued by the commission said this is in line with the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004, Public Procurement Act 2007, and the Proceeds of Crimes (Recovery and Management) Act 2022.
The vehicles are among those forfeited by corrupt persons, and the courts have given the agency the authority to seize them.
The cars, which pictures were conspicuously displayed with allocated lot numbers for public inspection, were allocated to auctioneers based on assessed values and an open ballot system.
The display was to provide an opportunity for interested bidders to view and indicate interest in any car of their choice.
In the statement released today, the EFCC said Nigerians would be able to acquire the cars through auction at 40 Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; 15A Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; 14 Cameroon Road, Ikoyi Lagos and CVU Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The nine auctioneers who were allocated to the Lagos Zonal Command of the EFCC to dispose of the 435 cars at the designated Centre on 14 Cameron Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, are Rihanna Auction Limited; Kamyus Consult Limited; Areogun Resources Limited; BIS N JEG; Integrated Services Nigeria Ltd; Mau & Sons Ltd; Langar Aghaji & Co; Fagobe Company Ltd and Musa Kira and Co.
At the inspection of the items for sale on Tuesday in Lagos, the Secretary to the Commission and Chairman of EFCC Asset Disposal Committee (ADC), Mr George Ekpungu, said, “the exercise, which is the first of the planned auction of forfeited properties across EFCC Zonal Commands and EFCC headquarters, is being carried out in accordance with the (Establishment) Act, 2004, Public Procurement Act, 2007 and Proceeds of Crimes (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022.
“It is being conducted in conjunction with the Bureau of Public Procurement to ensure compliance with all extant laws.”
While welcoming the auctioneers to the centre, he expressed his gratitude to sister agencies, including the Nigerian Army, who were invited to provide adequate security and ensure orderliness.
Mr Ekpungu also appealed to the members of the public present at the auction to listen carefully to the auctioneers and comply with all stipulated guidelines.
ICPC Confirms Arrest of D’Banj Over N-Power Funds Fraud
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has confirmed the arrest and detention of Mr Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo, otherwise known by his stage name D’Banj, over an alleged diversion of funds for the N-Power programme.
On Wednesday, it was reported by Premium Times that the entertainer was in the custody of the agency over his link with the inclusion of ghost beneficiaries in the scheme designed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 to reduce the unemployment rate in Nigeria.
In a statement issued today, ICPC said it began to investigate the musician after receiving “numerous petitions” from concerned persons, alleging D’Banj and some compromised government officials of embezzling “N-Power funds running into billions of naira following the approval and release of such funds to the beneficiaries by the federal government.”
“Many N-Power beneficiaries had complained over the non-receipt of the monthly funds in spite of payment by the government,” another part of the statement released this afternoon said.
According to the commission, it swung into action in line with its mandate of looking into matters of corruption in government initiatives.
“About 10 persons have been invited by the ICPC over the last few months in connection with the N-Power fraud and have been granted administrative bail after their detention.
“Several invitations to Mr Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo to appear before a team of investigators (over the alleged N-Power funds fraud) were ignored and not honoured,” it further said.
Recall that the N-Power scheme was established by Mr Buhari on June 8, 2016, to address the issues of youth unemployment and empowerment and help increase social development.
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