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Asari, Nigerian Army/Navy on Oil Theft and Shame of a Failed State



Asari, Nigerian Army/Navy on Oil Theft and Shame of a Failed State
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Walahi, there was a country called Nigeria and without doubt, the past was another country that died eight years ago.

How can anyone explain that ludicrousness is now enthroned as the acceptable norms in the affairs of our nation.

All aspects of our national life has been so corrupted that even the military that was known for its discipline, patriotism and forthrightness has been so bastardised to the extent that individuals like Asari Dokubo can boldly come out in the public theatre to accuse the Nigerian Navy and Army of being army of thieves responsible for 99 percent of crude oil theft from the Niger Delta. And all that the Army and Navy could do thus far was to dish out very dumb responses.

Does the military actually know the gravity of the accusation and the perception it has already created both at home and abroad? Who has bewitched us as a country?

Asari Dokubo at the State House said, “The military is at the centre of oil theft and “we have to make this very clear to the Nigerian public that 99 percent of oil theft can be traced to the Nigerian military, the Army and the Navy especially.

“The Army and Navy are behind oil theft. They intimidate civil defence, who are by law expected to protect installations. They tap directly from the oil head. What has been happening in the last eight years is unprecedented anywhere in the world.

“Myself and my brothers have assured the President (Tinubu) that there will be zero oil theft and vandalization in the Niger Delta.

“We’re going to walk with NNPCL and the IOCs to make sure that oil tapped is brought to zero.”

As said in a commentary, “Dokubo (at the State House) spoke not like a sovereign but the sovereign. He sells security and the armed forces are his competitors.”

The truth is that, “Asari maximally used the State House to advertise his security/insecurity business and do a very negative review of the enemy (the military) and their operations.”

How do you explain that Asari was allowed to attack the Nigerian Armed Forces “using the very visible platform of their Commander-in-Chief, the President of the Federation?”

As at this morning, he has not denied nor modified his allegations against the Nigerian army and navy. According to an analyst, he even offered to help the country check oil theft in the Niger Delta. “A non-state actor comes forward and accuses the Nigerian military of being an army of thieves, stealing Nigeria’s most prized natural resource, and he offers to succeed where the Nigerian military has failed.”


True as alleged by Asari, the Navy and Army are deeply involved in crude oil theft in the Delta region and I have raised that allegation in several of my analysis on the menace of crude oil theft in the region. But when another well known oil thief comes out publicly at no other place but the State House and the very Office of the President to accuse the military of being responsible for 99 percent of the total oil “thiefing” from facilities in the Niger Delta, you’ll know that all is not well in the camp of the oil thieves.

All that the two arms of the military whom the former Niger Delta militant, Asari Dokubo, frontally accused of being responsible for 99 per cent of oil theft in the region could say was to challenge him to name the military officers involved. What a dumb response!

In his reaction, the Spokesman of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, said the allegation against the military was “spurious and unguarded adding that “He (Asari) is also looking for his own pipeline protection contract.”

“If Asari Dokubo is seeking some form of relevance and he alleges that there are cabals of military personnel who are involved in crude oil theft, let him bring the names. Nobody is afraid of getting the names of those involved in crude oil theft.”

Whether anyone wants to hear this or not, crude oil theft in Nigeria is a much wider problem of corruption involving elements of the security forces and local political and militia leaders. The menace can best be described as an organized crime. Dokubo must be made to share what he knows with the new Nigerian government.

But why did Asari waited for Tinubu’s first few days in office to make this disclosure when he has serially been boasting publicly that he worked closely with the

Buhari administration that engaged him to instil security of lives and property or rather go on rampage killings in some states of the federation which he named?

The answer is simple; some key members of the Buhari team were neck deep in the heinous crude oil theft crime. The now -talking Asari must have been relegated or at best reduced to work for the powerful interests in the immediate past administration. So he sees Tinubu as someone who will grant a paradigm shift in his favour.

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The tragedy of the Nigerian situation is that we have a security apparatus that’s very casual with hardcore intelligence on issues that borders on sabotaging our national economic interests, if not, the appropriate thing for the military to have done to defend itself was to release credible intelligence on Asari and his cronies’ involvement in oil stealing and exports. The reason why this has not happened and will never happen in this Asari’s naked dance is probably because the two sides worked together in the “business” until the former militant chief felt sidelined.

Whoever knows Asari will tell you that the man has no limits when he starts vomiting what he knows including the heinous crimes he was directly involved in. So the military should be ready for more venoms coming from him. He will really mess up the military big time because they have also used him in the past to commit atrocities.

There are some dire implications for this Asari- military faceoff or rather exchange.

On the side of the former militant, if he thinks the best way for him to secure a pipeline protection contract covering the eastern flank of the Niger Delta from Tinubu is to rubbish and make a mockery of the Nigerian military, he better wake up his ideas. Whether he wants to hear this or not, even if he gets the contract he needs the two security arms to carry it out effectively. If they decide not to cooperate, he’s done!


For President Tinubu, if he opts to show the military that he prefers a non -state actor to the established state actors in the security sector, he also will be in for it.

The military as a family can decide to sabotage whatever effort he thinks he is coming with. This has nothing to do with loyalty to him or to the State. So Tinubu should tread on the path of caution in dealing with Asari who is already out to rubbish the existing state apparatuses for his pecuniary gains.

The President also should be weary of not sparking off a new round of armed confrontations in the Niger Delta because if this Asari’s campaign is not handled very well, it may trigger off emergence of new warlords that may want to assert territorial powers over some areas in the region. No single individual has a monopoly of violence especially in the Niger Delta.

Also, Tompolo and his pipeline contract should be handled with care to avoid creating bad blood among the former militant warlords. The president is for everybody and not just Asari’s personal property as he has claimed. Asari is not more militant than Tompolo only that his nuisance value is higher. So Mr President should see and apply caution.

Now, did Asari actually say “I am a participant in this war (insecurity); I fight on the side of the government of the Nigerian State in Plateau, Niger, Anambra, Imo, Abia and Rivers?

“And in Abuja today you are travelling to Kaduna on this road. It is not the army that makes it possible to travel to and from Abuja- Kaduna. It is my men employed by the Government of the Nigerian State, stationed in Niger.”

In some of my past treatise, it was strongly alluded that the spate of killings and senseless bloodsheds in the South East could not have been masterminded by full -blooded Igbos because the act is very strange to Igbo culture. A typical Igboman can never take a life except by mistake, during robbery or on glaring provocation.
Now the truth is coming out that the killings in Plateau, Benue, Imo, Anambra, and Abia are done by Asari’s militia men engaged by the Government of the Federation.

We will like to know which of the Governments whether Buhari’s or was he engaged by Tinubu as a presidential aspirant to rattle the Southeast and make it impossible for them to ask and get the slot to rule the country which could have been rightly theirs as the chance came back to the south after Buhari’s tenure. This is another discuss entirely so let’s leave it first! God bless Nigeria.

• Mr. Izeze is a National Daily Columnist and can be reached on: [email protected]; sms: 234-8033043009

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