The Nigerian Navy in Port Harcourt has handed over six vessels and 15 suspected oil thieves to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for prosecution.
Speaking at the handover, Capt. Olusegun Soyemi, Executive Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, said that the suspects were arrested for their alleged involvement in illegal bunkering.
“On Oct. 20, we got intelligence report about an illegal bunkering activity at a private jetty situated opposite the busy Slaughter market around Trans-Woji area in Port Harcourt,” Soyemi said.
“On arrival at the jetty, our troops accosted five vessels and a large wooden boat loading products suspected to be stolen diesel.
“The vessels, MV Denis, MV Faith, MV Lum VII, MV Eliora, and FP Comfort had no approval from Navy headquarters for the transaction,” he said.
Soyemi said that the prime suspect, who doubled as middleman for two companies fingered in the case, had provided useful information during preliminary investigations.
He warned oil thieves not to sabotage oil and gas installations in the area and assured Nigerians that the Navy would not rest on its oars until illegal bunkering activities had stopped.
Receiving the suspects and vessels, Mr Steven Morgan, NSCDC Head of anti-Vandal Unit, Rivers command, said that thorough and forensic investigation would be carried out on the suspects and vessels.
He said that the suspects would be prosecuted if found guilty.