By Madu Onuorah
THE Nigerian Navy (NN) is in the eye of the storm at the moment, as the country seeks to stem revenue leakages arising from continued threat of terrorism, transnational organised crimes and other illicit economic activities. These leakages points include oil theft, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, piracy, and other sea crimes in Nigeria’s maritime waterways. With the slide in the price of crude oil in the international market, the focus on the navy has become imperative as crude oil sales dominate Nigeria’s revenue base. It accounts for about 95 per cent of the country’s export dollar earnings and 80 per cent of consolidated government revenue. Moreover, maritime trade accounts for approximately 60 per cent of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s national income.
But apart from crimes in Nigeria’s coastal waters and areas, the Navy has been battling with containing the activities of vandals and criminal cartels that have subjected the nation’s total pipeline grid of 5,001 kilometres, consisting of 4,315 kilometres of multi- product pipelines and 666 kilometres of crude oil pipelines infrastructure to incessant attacks. These pipelines transverse the country, forming a network that inter-connects the 22 petroleum storage depots, the four refineries at Port-Harcourt (I and II), Kaduna and Warri, the off-shore terminals at Bonny and Escravos and the jetties at Atlas Cove, Calabar, Okirika and Warri.
Of these pipelines, the most difficult axis to secure is the major 98 kilometre oil trunk pipeline between Trans Forcados and Nembe Creek. Last year, this pipeline trunk was truncated at over 100 illegal bunkering points. Between Calabar and Lagos, there were eight identified choke points.
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