.... Arrests security operatives for aiding militants with explosives
The Nigerian federal government has indicted top fertiliser companies in Nigeria, Notore Petrochemical and Indorama Eleme Petrochemical, of sabotaging national security and economy by being a conduit through which the insurgents, especially the Boko Haram terrorists and Niger Delta militants obtain explosive materials wrecking havoc across the country.
This is coming as the Nigerian security and intelligence agencies have made a major breakthrough in tracking the source of explosives used by the Niger Delta militants to blow up the oil pipelines and facilities with the arrest of several suspects including five security personnels.
The national security adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) made the revelation when he met with the representatives of local manufacturers of fertilisers.
Monguno warned that the federal government would no longer tolerate a situation where by the security and economy of the country is being threatened by “unpatriotic actions of the fertilizer companies, threatening to close them should the seemingly acts of sabotage continue.
The Security chief also read the riot act to any company or individual engaged in economic, business or commercial activities linked to the dissident groups operating within and outside the country.
He said: “I must say at this point that the good will shown by the government of this country will not be taken for granted. The fact that we are in difficult and complicated situation in terms of our economy and security, does not mean that companies and individuals with vested interest will take the good will of this country for granted.
“The President came to power with specific mandate which is clear to all Nigerians and indeed 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 bring to its knee the economy of this country and indeed the security of this country.”
” Like I said we will not hesitate and is an action that will be taken with immediate effect. It is also important for us to also know that the local farmer are suffering in all communities all over the country,” he stressed.
Monguno said that ONSA and “the whole intelligence community discovered that the Improvised Explosive Devices (EIDs) being employed by the terrorists for their bombing campaigns were developed mainly from certain grades of fertilisers with particular reference to some nitrate based types including Urea Nitrate (synthesized from Urea)”.
He reminded that it was the discovery that the indiscriminate importation of these urea nitrate by all and sundry resulting into lack of control and ease their availability to the terrorists, militants and other mischievous elements for use to perpetuate insecurity that necessitated Federal government to license only the two companies to operate in the country.
He also noted that ONSA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development facilitated necessary importation of raw materials and also secured distribution networks, which is “aimed at solving the national security problem on one hand by easing control of the items and on the other hand, boosting economy by encouraging local production”.
Against this backdrop, the NSA said that the cumulative annual production of the two companies is estimated at 2.05 million metric tonnes, while Nigeria’s estimated consumption rate is 1.1 million metric tonnes, which is 53 percent of production and “opportunity to cumulatively export about 47 percent of their production”.
Monguno however, noted that ONSA “has observed with total dismay some unpatriotic act and abuse of the goodwill of government”, saying that “reports of activities of these companies have indicated that about 71 percent of the 2.05 million tonnes cumulative annual production is being exported to the detriment of our national economy”.
According to him, 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 Government will continue to adhere to the rule of law. However, it must be noted that rule of law is not akin to anarchy. Accordingly, this office will not hesitate to close and withdraw the operating license of any company that exports products without first meeting local consumptions.
“This office and the Ministry (of Agriculture) will work to put in place measures to access production and determine exportable quantity by the respective companies. Please note that well-being of this country is a collective responsibility of all,” he said.
In the a related development, Monguno disclosed that ONSA conducted investigation into the incessant bombing of oil facilities in the Niger Delta and discovered that commercial explosives and accessories were used for the attacks.
He said that resultant investigation and detailed audit of the records of explosives magazines and quarries in the region revealed “the diversion of about 9000kg of high explosives and 16, 420 pieces of detonators for illegal use”.
He revealed that “the actors, including the store man of a major explosives distribution company in Nigeria, an accomplice and five security operatives have been arrested and handed over to the appropriate authorities”.
“Right now investigations are being conducted and I can assure you that they are deeply culpable and the necessary action will be taken on the conclusion of these investigations,” he remarked.
The NSA however assure that the administration is committed to the wellbeing, safety and security of the Nigerian citizenry and urged members of the public and business community to do their business in accordance to laid down rules of law.
”Let me also reiterate that any individual or company that operations outside the confines of legitimacy or illegality will have itself to blame and we 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,” he warned.