Five security operatives, a storekeeper and an accomplice have been arrested for alleged diversion of 9,000 kilogrammes of high calibre explosives and over 16,420 pieces of detonators in the Niger Delta.
The National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Monguno (retd.), said that investigation conducted into the incessant attacks on oil facilities in the oil-rich region revealed that commercial explosives and accessories were being used for the dastardly acts.
Monguno made the comment during a meeting with manufacturers of fertilisers in Nigeria in Abuja, on Thursday.
The NSA said that the Federal Government might withdraw the licences of two manufacturers of fertilisers in the country, Notore Petrochemical and Indorama Eleme Petrochemical, for alleged sabotage of the nation’s economy by exporting products meant for local consumption.
He said, “A detailed audit of the records of explosives magazines and quarries in that region was conducted, which revealed the diversion of about 9,000kg of high explosives and 16,420 pieces of detonators for illegal use.
“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 necessary action will be taken on the conclusion of these investigations.
“Let me also reiterate that any individual or company that operates outside the confines of legitimacy or legality will have itself to blame, and we 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.”
Monguno said that the Federal Government would take decisive action against any company whose actions were found to threaten the economy and security of the country.
The NSA explained that the intelligence community discovered that the Improvised Explosive Devices being used 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 (synthesised from Urea).”
He said that the discovery made the Federal Government to regulate the indiscriminate importation of fertilisers into the country as part of efforts to curb the production of the IEDs by unscrupulous elements.
He added that ONSA, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, ensured the importation of necessary raw materials and distribution networks as a response to the national security challenge, and boosting the economy through local production by giving licences to the two firms.
However, NSA observed that 71 per cent of the 2.05 million metric tonnes of fertilisers produced annually by the two firms was being exported outside the country, thereby raising the price of urea-based fertilizers to the detriment of food security in the country.
He said that the estimated annual fertiliser consumption rate of the country was 1.1 million metric tonnes, which was 53 per cent of the 2.05 million metric tonnes, while the companies had the balance for export.
In a related development, the Federal Government has ordered the immediate sealing of the premises of Messrs Nigerian Development and Construction Company, an importer and seller of explosives in Koko, Delta State, over illegal diversion of explosives.
A statement issued by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, said the minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, gave the order in Abuja on Thursday.
The minister also ordered the blacklisting of the company and the withdrawal of its explosive licence.
The development, the statement said, was sequel to investigations by the office of the National Security Adviser, which revealed that the company was involved in illegal diversion of about 9,000 kilogrammes of Nitro-glycerine explosives and 16,420 pieces of electrical detonators from their magazines since 2015.
Fayemi warned all manufacturers, importers, sellers and end users of explosives in the country to desist from unprofessional sale, procurement, storage and use of the materials in line with the provisions of the Explosives Act of 1964, the Explosives Regulations of 1967 and other extant policy directives.