The Nigerian Navy yesterday commenced what is evidently its biggest operation aimed at putting an end to oil theft and illegal refining in the Niger Delta, with the deployment of 40 ships, five helicopters and 200 boats for “Operation Dakatar Da Barawo” (stop the thief) across the region.
On the same day, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, assured Nigerians that with this special Naval operation against oil theft in the country, Nigerians would begin to see measurable results in two to three weeks.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Planning, Naval Headquarters, Abuja, Rear Admiral Saidu Garba, while flagging off “Operation Dakatar Da Barawo” on board the Nigeria Navy Ship, Okpabana, in Onne, Rivers State, said the move was to intensify previous efforts, as the nation was bleeding as a result of huge losses to the menace of oil theft.
“It would also be dedicated to monitoring pipelines, block identified strategic estuaries to prevent conveyance of stolen crude oil from inshore to sea and to maintain credible presence along the coastline of areas prone to crude oil theft.
“This initiative became necessary considering the recent reports of massive revenue losses which compelled all efforts to be emplaced to curtail the wanton crude oil theft and illegal bunkering of crude oil in the nation’s maritime environment.
“The operation would also involve aerial surveillance, as well as insertion of special forces to conduct clearance operations.
“The vast expanse of the nation’s maritime domain coupled with limited capability of maritime security and law enforcement agencies, including the complex nature of maritime threats, make it expedient for maritime stakeholders to emplace more robust collaborative engagement to surmount these crude oil theft, illegal oil refining and other maritime security challenges.
“We are bringing at least 40 ships, between 100 and 200 Navy boats, also we are deploying between four and five helicopters, some of which will be coming and going throughout the period and all Navy Special Forces and units will also be involved to make sure the operation is successful.”