Mkpoikana Udoma 25 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Nigerian Navy has restated its determination to arrest all illegalities, including oil theft and illegal crude oil refining, in the nation’s territorial waters.
The officer in charge of the Navy ship, NNS Pathfinder, Captain Olusegun Soyemi, made this declaration while handing over six oil vessels and 15 suspected oil thieves arrested in the last three weeks to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, in Port Harcourt.
Captain Soyemi explained that the suspected oil thieves operated without documents and necessary approvals.
“Just about the end of last month, October 2015, we got an intelligent report and we moved to the Slaughter waterside in Woji (in Port Harcourt); on arriving that location, the patrol team accosted these five tugs (tug-boats) and a wooden Cotonou boat.
“The five tugs were actually in the process of receiving products suspected to be illegally refined diesel before they were accosted.”
The Navy captain also said the arrested suspects would be prosecuted and that the owners of the confiscated vessels would be investigated.
“In line with the directive from Naval headquarters, we are here to handover the vessels to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps since they have the appropriate power of prosecution,” Soyemi added.
In his response, the head of anti-vandal unit of the NSCDC, Rivers State Command, Mr. Stevenson Morgan, said forensic investigation would be carried out on the suspects and vessels, with the suspects being prosecuted if found guilty.