The Chief of Navy Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla risks a dishonourable discharge and a jail term and he’s likely to be deprived of benefits if found guilty of allegations estimated at over $170m bribe among others levelled against him, sources in the Presidency revealed to THE WHISTLER.
The Navy chief has been accused of offering the protection of the Nigerian Navy to oil thieves and obscuring justice since his appointment by the President on June 19, 2023.
Ogalla was also alleged to have released many oil tankers impounded for transporting stolen crude oil off Nigerian shores and dispatching gunboats of personnel for the loading of stolen crude on at least four vessels.
The development had made the Ministry of Defence to announce a “comprehensive investigation into the matter” describing the allegation as “serious”.
The Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle had pledged to uphold the “highest standards of integrity and accountability within the Nigerian Armed Forces” during the investigation.
Speaking further on the matter, a source in the presidency who pleaded anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter told THE WHISTLER that the allegations against Ogalla are a breach of the Code of Conduct Act, the Public Service Act that frowns at public officers receiving gratification of any kind to favour an action.
The source said, “All allegations must be well validated with evidence of circumstance of the proxy companies involved like in the case of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu where evidence accompanied allegations.
“If he has been accused, who bribed him? Who are these oil bunkers? Their names need to be mentioned because bunkering is a crime. In fact, in the Idiagbon administration, bunkering was punishable by death because it was a treasonable act.
“This means, if the allegations are factual, he automatically becomes an accomplice to bunkering; he was collecting money to obscure justice and such an allegation is quite weighty. They are very serious issues, and the military is not quite forgiving of them.
“The consequences are that he will lose his rank, he would be court-martialed if he is found guilty, he would be jailed, he will be deprived of every official status and benefits. He would not be addressed as a retired officer, but rather as a dismissed officer, or dishonourably discharged officer.
“Mind you, lately, service chiefs have come under attack, for ethnic and political reasons, if you recall the accidental killing in Kaduna. Some groups gathered together and called for the removal of the Army chief for only one reason, simply because he was a Yoruba man.
“Ogalla is from the southeast and the most senior ranking officer from the geopolitical zone. There are a lot of undercurrents going on and then he has been at loggerheads with the contracting company that was contacted by the NNPC, the Tantita Security outfit.
“This is because it has even been alleged that the navy guys are also gaining from the bunkering and have given no support to Tantita. It was expected that the Navy chief would have asked the navy to work hand in hand with Tantita, and I do not think that has happened.”
When contacted on the matter, the Navy Spokesperson, Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan said, “A statement on this will be out soon.”
The statement has not been issued as of the time this report was published.