The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Ziakede Akpobolokemi, said at the weekend that the agency had impounded a number of vessels used for oil theft and bunkering which, he said, had been traced to some highly placed Nigerians.
Akpobolokemi, who was speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, said that the agency would soon unmask the identities of the affected Nigerians once investigations are completed.
According to him, the cases would not be covered up by NIMASA but warned Nigerians to be wary of giving ethnic colourations to the issue once the suspects are named.
He said: “Nigerians should be ready to tell them to leave the issue of ethnicity aside.
The NIMASA boss further revealed that while some influential Nigerians were under the spotlight for crude oil theft, others are already in the net for sponsoring and financing piracy, oil theft and bunkering.
“Those small boys are agents for some top Nigerians. We are on their trail. No matter how highly placed you are, if you break the maritime law, if you sponsor oil theft, we will go after you,” Akpobolokemi said.