1. The Nigerian Navy has stepped up efforts towards eliminating all forms of crimes in Nigeria’s waters. In line with the directive of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, the operational Commands have therefore sustained the ongoing clampdown on illegal refineries, crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, smuggling, piracy and sea robbery.
2. In the latest raids conducted against the criminals, the Nigerian Navy patrol team deployed from NNS DELTA discovered and destroyed illegal crude oil refineries set up in Lolomu creek in Gbaramatu Kingdom and Tagola creek all in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. In one of the discovered sites, the patrol team destroyed 11 storage tanks, 3 Cotonou boats loaded with product suspected to be stolen crude oil, 2 pumping machines and 40 horse power (HP) fibre boat. Some of the items destroyed at Tagola creek are 30 drums of 200 litres each, 6 GP tanks of 15,000 litres each, 6 tanks of 10,000 litres each and a locally made gun with one live cartridge. The operators of the illegal refinery fled before the arrival of the naval patrol team.
3. However, in what could be tagged a big harvest of criminals, the NNS DELTA patrol team arrested 10 persons suspected to be engaged in crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism. The suspects were arrested in a speed boat and 2 large Cotonou boats around the SPDC Forcados area. The Cotonou boats were laden with unquantified product suspected to be illegally refined AGO in GP tanks. The team also recovered 7 outboard engines and 13 pumping machines.
4. Additionally, 2 suspected crude oil thieves were arrested around Ugwangue Warri South West LGA of Delta State. Some items recovered from them are a Cotonou boat conveying 40 drums of substance suspected to be illegally refined AGO.
5. In a related development, Nigerian Navy patrol team deployed from Forward Operations Base (FOB) BADAGRY has arrested 6 suspected smugglers around Askere waterways in a boat enroute Lagos from Cotonou. The suspects were conveying about 200 bags of smuggled rice as at the time of arrest.
6. The clampdown on smuggling has been sustained even as NNS MAKURDI, a Nigerian Navy patrol ship intercepted and arrested 22 suspects in 2 boats. The suspects were conveying about 600 bags of the 22 persons, 14 of them are Nigerians while 8 are Cameroonian citizens. The suspects and exhibits have been handed over to the Nigerian Customs for further investigation and prosecution.
7. In view of the foregoing, the Nigerian Navy is sending a clear message to the criminals. They are therefore warned to desist from their acts of economic sabotage or face the full wrath of the law. This is because there will be no hiding place for them in our maritime environment.
CHRISTIAN ODOGWU EZEKOBE
Director of Information
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