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FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNCOVERS FIRM SUPPLYING MILITANTS WITH EXPLOSIVES

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNCOVERS FIRM SUPPLYING MILITANTS WITH EXPLOSIVES


The Federal Government has uncovered a firm which supplies militants the explosives with which they have been bombing oil installations in the Niger Delta.

The firm was said to have diverted 9,000 kilogrammes of nitro-glycerine explosives and 16,420 pieces of detonators to the militants for “illegal use”.


National Security Adviser (NSA) Maj.-Gen. Muhammed Babagana Monguno yesterday said investigation revealed that the explosives allegedly diverted by Nigerian Development and Construction Company (NDCC) based in Koko, Delta State, were being used by militants to bomb oil installations and facilities.

According to him, an inventory of the records of explosive magazines and quarries in the region, revealed the diversion of a large quantity of explosives and pieces of detonators.

NDCC, an importer and seller of explosives, has been sealed off, and its explosive’s licence withdrawn.

The company has also been blacklisted.

Six people –  a store officer and five security operatives – have been arrested and are being interrogated, Gen. Monguno said.

He added: “Right now investigations have been conducted and I can assure you they are deeply culpable and appropriate actions will be taken. Let me once again reiterate that  any individual or company that operates outside the confines of legitimacy and legality will find himself or itself to blame.  I also want to add that the government  of the day will not listen to any influence peddler  in the society on behalf of any company that decides to sabotage national security.”

Further explaining the development, Minister of Solid Minerals Development Dr Kayode Fayemi, in a statement by his media aide, Yinka Oyebode, said: “This is in addition to the blacklisting of the company and withdrawal of its explosive licences.

“The development is sequel to investigations by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), which revealed that the company was involved in illegal diversion of about 9,000 kg of Nitro-glycerine explosives and 16,420 pieces of electrical detonators from its magazines between 2015 and 2016.”

The minister warned of manufacturers, importers, sellers and end users of explosives in the country  to desist from unprofessional sale, procurement, storage and use of explosives in line with the provisions of the Explosives Act of 1964 , the Explosives Regulations of 1967 and other extant policy directives.

The NSA also accused two companies – Notore Chemical Industry Limited and Indorama Eleme Fertiliser and Chemicals – which were granted the exclusive rights to manufacture fertiliser for local consumption, of exporting the bulk of their products.

The firms granted the licence after the Federal Government banned the importation of fertilisers following discovery that certain grades of fertilisers were being used to manufacture the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) employed by terrorists.

 Gen. Monguno said the ONSA and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also facilitated necessary importation of raw materials and ensured secured distribution networks with the objective of solving a national security problem and boosting local production of the product thereby boosting the economy.

He said the cumulative annual production of the two companies is estimated at 2.05 million metric tons while the estimated national consumption rate is 1.1 million metric tons leaving the companies with a cumulative export value of about 47 percent.

Gen. Monguno said: “However, the Office of the National Security Adviser has observed with total dismay, some unpatriotic act and abuse of the goodwill of the government. Reports of these companies have indicated that about 71 per cent of the 2.05 million metric tons cumulative annual production is being exported to the detriment of our national economy.

“This has resulted in a spike in the price of urea-based fertilisers in Nigeria with obvious implications on food security in the country.

“In view of the foregoing, I wish to categorically state that the government will continue to adhere to the rule of law, however, it must be noted that the rule of law is not akin to anarchy. Accordingly, this office will not hesitate to close and withdraw the operating licence of any company that exports products without first meeting local consumption.  This office and the Ministry will work to put in place measures to assess  production and determine exportable quantity by the respective companies.”

Monguno, who was joined by Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri  and other top officials of the ONSA, noted that due to the unpatriotic acts of the companies,  local farmers are suffering lack of fertilisers.

“ I must state that the goodwill shown by the government of this country will not be taken for granted, the fact that we are in a difficult situation  in terms of economy and security does not mean that companies and anybody with vested interest should take the government for granted.  The president came to power with specific mandate which is clear to all Nigerians and the international community. We will view with very serious consequences, whatever any company does to fall out of line and behave in a manner that will ruin the economy and the security of this country,” he said.

The Head of Sales, Notore Chemicals Industry, Mr. Oscar Okpe, who declined to comment on the allegations, however said the company is committed to equitable distribution of fertilisers in the country.  In a telephone interview, Okpe said the company was putting fertilisers in the market and  farmers would soon begin to access the products.

However, Indorama Eleme Fertiliser and Chemicals said a statement would be issued on the matter later.