The Deputy Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon Philip Agbese, has described the petition against the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, as a tactic to distract and thwart the war against oil theft.

Agbese, speaking to journalists over the weekend, said the petition is the handiwork of some disgruntled elements hit by Ogalla’s reforms and strategic cleansing of the waterways.

Having failed to compromise the CNS, the Rep member said these individuals and groups have taken to smear campaigns to dent Ogalla’s person and office.

Agbese said allegations that the Naval Chief facilitated an unorganized bunkering of Nigerian crude and a multimillion-naira contract-splitting fraud is not only false but laughable.

He said as a lawmaker who raised a motion for his colleagues to investigate crude oil theft and loss of revenue last year, the outcome so far has been mind-blowing.

Agbese recalled that during the Sectorial Debate, the House allowed the Service Chiefs to shed light on their activities, plans, and programs.

According to him, Ogalla did excellently well in sharing the challenges and their strategies with the House and it is not a surprise that he is being targeted a few months later.

The Deputy Spokesman said the CNS proved to the lawmakers that he is capable of the responsibility entrusted under his care by the President.

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“The Nigerian Navy is a highly professional and patriotic institution. Ogalla flaunts an intimidating track record of integrity, accountability, and transparency. He became CNS by sheer hard work and sacrifices over the years,” he said.

“For some elements to bring up unsubstantiated claims against this illustrious Nigerian who should be celebrated is a real shame. Where did we lose it as a nation?

“Sometime last year, I raised a motion calling for the probe of crude oil theft and revenue loss. The House set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate this impasse.

“The Navy was questioned. Other stakeholders too were invited and we all brainstormed on how to avoid further carnage. Now that we are making progress, the enemies of the nation are not happy.

“I also recall that during the Sectorial Debate, Ogalla shared the challenges and their strategies with the House. I immediately knew that he would be targeted.

“To be frank, I expected such baseless petitions. It is not the first and won’t be the last. Certain highly placed individuals want Ogalla out of the way at all costs so the country can return to the era of bunkering. Never!

“As we all know, there are clear procedures in the arrest, detention, and release of any vessel or persons found culpable in the maritime environment. It is not even within the power of the Chief of Naval Staff to award oil bunkering contracts.

“I want to urge the CNS and our gallant officers not to be deterred by this futile attack. Nigerians know better. We want to urge them to remain patriotic in their duties to our fatherland”.