Home NewsSecurityCrime Nigerian Navy Hands Over 5 Suspected Oil Thieves To NSCDC

Nigerian Navy Hands Over 5 Suspected Oil Thieves To NSCDC

by Anita Ogona

The Nigerian Navy has arrested five persons suspected to be oil thieves for allegedly attempting to sell adulterated diesel to motorists in Rivers state.

The all-male crew were arrested alongside eight large wooden boats loaded with thousands of litres of petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined diesel.

Speaking during the handover ceremony of the suspects and items to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Port Harcourt, Commodore Umar Sidi, Base Operations Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder Port Harcourt, said the suspects were arrested by NNS Pathfinder’s tactical riverine squadron acting on credible intelligence.

According to him, “Shortly after receiving intelligence on the activities of the illegal bunkers, troops conducted a simultaneous raid at Isaka Junction and Cawthorn Channel River in the state.

“At the end of the raids, troops arrested five suspects and seized eight large wooden boats laden with an unspecified quantity of petroleum products, suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (diesel).”

He explained that preliminary investigation revealed that the suspects might have illegally refined the petroleum product for sale to unsuspecting users.

Sidi maintained that with the zero tolerance to illegal bunkering and illegalities on the nation’s waters by the Navy, the suspects and items were being handed over to the NSCDC for further investigation and possible prosecution, in line with the Harmonized Standard Operating Procedure.

He further denied claims that the imminent soot pollution in Port Harcourt was partly a result of the destruction of illegal refineries by the Navy.

He said that the Navy was concerned over the soot pollution and had already taken steps to tackle the menace and bring the perpetrators to book.

He noted that “The Navy does not set ablaze illegal refineries during operation.

“We only destroy the metallic tanks and reservoirs with the Swamp Buggy Excavator machine.

“The soot is as a result of the burning of crude oil during the refining process by oil thieves and illegal bunkers.

“However, we have observed that the illegal refiners are very determined to continue with their illicit activities, hence our adoption of a new strategy to effectively tackle them.

“The new mandate is to destroy the illegal refineries and at the same time intercept the movement of the petroleum products either on sea or on land.”

Receiving the suspects and the items, the Head of Intelligence and Investigation of NSCDC, Port Harcourt, Ichela John, promised speedy investigation and prosecution of the suspects, if found guilty.

While commending the Navy for its collaboration with the NSCDC in tackling crimes and criminalities on the nation’s waterways, John noted that over 200 suspects were arrested in 2021.

According to him, “Through the support of the navy and other security agencies in Rivers, we received 205 suspects and secured 50 convictions in 2021.”


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