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Senator Okey Ezea who is the senator representing Enugu North in the National Assembly, has declared that oil thieves were the ones behind the malicious publication against the chief of naval staff, Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, of corruption.
The senator, who made this allegation on his verified X handle on Monday, criticised a particular online newspaper, and others for allowing themselves to be used by oil thieves to defame the character of “the very competent and incorruptible, Ogalla.”
He supported the Nigerian Navy’s statement on Monday which condemned the “sponsored malicious publication” against the chief of the naval staff, and reminded all those lending their platforms for such a hatchet job that legal action can be brought against them for defamation of character.
Vice Admiral Ogalla, who comes from Enugu North, the district Ezea represents in the Senate, hinted that it was a case of corruption fighting back.
The Eastern Updates recalls that the Naval Headquarters had on Saturday issued a disclaimer clearing CNS Ogalla of all allegations levelled against him in a story published on Peoples Gazette and culled or reported by several other publications.
In the rebuttal signed by Rear Admiral Adetokun Ayo-Vaughan, director of information, the Nigerian Navy said the allegations were unfounded and baseless, adding that those feeling the heat of the several operations by the navy were behind the blackmail against Ogalla.
The online news media had reported that Ogalla was involved in facilitating unauthorised bunkering of crude oil and engaging in multimillion-naira contract-splitting fraud, and for facilitating the release of several oil tankers previously seized for transporting stolen crude oil off Nigerian shores, allegedly after receiving substantial kickbacks.
Following these allegations, the minister of state for defence, Bello Matawalle, had promised to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.
The NN’s statement, however, clarified that the vessels mentioned in the report were apprehended for involvement in crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering, and they have not been released as alleged.
The statement signed by Ayo-Vaughan also averred that it was not within the powers of Ogalla to award oil-bunkering contracts, adding that only the NNPCL had such power.