Nigeria’s Naval chief, Ogalla, to face investigation over corruption allegations

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The Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, on Friday, confirmed that Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, the Chief of Naval Staff, will be investigated following allegations of corruption published in a recent report by an online news platform.

The report, titled “Navy Chief Ogalla in Multi-Million Naira Fraud, Oil Bunkering Scandal,” alleged Ogalla’s involvement in:

• Facilitating illegal bunkering of Nigerian crude oil.
• Engaging in a multi-million naira contract-splitting fraud.
• Releasing oil tankers impounded for transporting stolen crude oil after receiving kickbacks in millions of dollars.

It added that preliminary investigations estimated that Ogalla, who was appointed by the President on June 19, 2023, had accepted over $170 million in bribes in the past six months.

In response to the report, Matawalle emphasized President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s zero tolerance for corruption in the public service. He stated that the allegations against Ogalla “are very serious and deserve thorough investigation.”

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A statement issued by the press department of the Defence Ministry noted, “The attention of the Ministry of Defence has been drawn to the recent article published by People’s Gazette which raises serious allegations against Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

“Responding to the allegation, Matawalle said that the administration of President Bola Tinubu has zero tolerance for corruption in the public service.

“Though these allegations might be mischievous, the Ministry of Defence is committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and accountability within the Nigerian Armed Forces.

“The allegations levelled against Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla are serious. Matawalle harped on thorough investigation saying that it was imperative to emphasize the need for a thorough and impartial investigation to ascertain the truth of these claims.”

He also said accusations of this nature could have a consequence on the reputation of individuals and institutions, urging the citizens to avoid “premature judgments” on the matter.

“We respect the role of the media in fostering transparency and holding public figures accountable.

“At the same time, we urge responsible journalism that adheres to the principles of fairness, objectivity, and accuracy. Accusations of this nature can have far-reaching consequences on the reputation of individuals and institutions, and thus, it is crucial to avoid premature judgments.

“In the light of the allegations, we assure the public that the Ministry of Defence will collaborate fully with relevant authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the matter. We remain committed to the principles of due process and fairness, ensuring that findings will be based on concrete evidence and legal standards.

“It is our collective responsibility to maintain the trust and confidence of the Nigerian people in the institutions that safeguard our nation’s security. We call for patience as the investigative process unfolds and trust that justice will be served in accordance with the rule of law, “the statement added.

This situation highlights the ongoing challenge of tackling corruption within Nigerian public institutions. The investigation’s outcome will be closely watched as it sets a precedent for holding public officials accountable for their actions.

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