Benin City….. The United States government according to latest Wall Street Journal (WSJ) launched investigation into crude oil shipments from Saltpond platform, a small oil facility off the coast of Ghana, due to strong suspicion that some of Nigeria’s stolen oil may be exported through the facility. The platform, it was learnt, has been shipping large quantities of crude oil from unknown sources to Europe in recent months.
The Wall Street Journal quoted United States officials as saying that Washington was probing Saltpond as part of the broader enquiry into how Nigeria’s crude oil is being stolen and exported by local and international syndicates.
Though the investigators are yet to arrive at the particulars of evidence, a Saltpond official was said to have testified that the crude oil was got from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The Commission it was alleged sells crude seized from suspected oil thieves to Europe. Interestingly, the EFCC has denied any form of involvement in the Saltpond platform, EFCC spokesman, Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement that the ” EFCC is not an oil marketing company and could not have issued any invoice to any oil trader to lift confiscated crude oil from Nigeria.”
“The issue of oil theft in Nigeria has assumed a frightening dimension over the years and this is not only to our government, but to Civil Society in Nigeria and we welcome the United States investigations into the crude oil shipments from Saltpond allegedly by oil thieves.” Executive Director of Africa Network for Environemtn and Economic Justice, Rev. David Ugolor said
“We call on both the Nigerian and Ghanaian Governments to lend their support to the United States investigators with a view to getting to the bottom of the matter and revealing all those behind the dirty deals with clear evidence.” Ugolor requested.
“We urge the US investigators to be more circumspect in their investigations by ensuring that they hold enough evidence before leaking such reports to the media because the reputation of any organization mentioned in the investigation could be seriously damaged, not only in Nigeria but internationally.
“We commend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for promptly refuting the allegation, which was published in the Wall Street Journal because organizations and partners of EFCC were disturbed with the report. We agree with the EFCC that criminally-minded elements could forge documents to unduly implicate the EFCC. What we expected from the US investigators was a double-check with the EFCC on the so-called receipts dubiously prepared by the oil thieves before hitting the news stand with their report.
It is for this reason that we are calling on the US investigators to be more thorough in their investigations to unmask the real culprits who are the barons and patrons of the Saltpond platform” ANEEJ demanded.
“The Ghanaian and Nigerian Governments must take urgent steps to dismantle the Saltpond and other such platforms in the sub-region using the instrumentality of established rules within the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) treaties against regional economic saboteurs.” the ANEEJ helmsman said.
ANEEJ is currently is a Civil Society Watchdog against oil theft in Nigeria and is currently campaigning for an end to oil swaps and oil theft in the country, a project being supported by FOSTER.
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