The anti-crude oil theft operations of the Nigerian Navy NNS Jubilee in Akwa Ibom has once again yielded positive results with the sustained patrol of the maritime area as seventeen oil thieves were at the weekend arrested for alleged oil bunkering.
Over 47,450 litres of liquid suspected to be diesel, three Cotonou wooden boats and 188 empty drums of 250 litres drums of adulterated Automotive Gas Oil AGO were also recovered from the suspects in Ibeno, Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom state.
Briefing newsmen at Ikot Abasi, Naval Base Operation Officer, Commander Saidu Garba, said acting on a tip off, the suspects were arrested with three Cotonou boats laden with the products suspected to be illegally refined AGO in the creeks of Ibeno.
Commodore Garba said, “You will recall that just few days ago a combined patrol team of NNS Jubilee and NOP Ikuru at Ataba arrested 4 illegal bunkering suspects and 2 Cotonou boats laden with liter drums of illegally refined AGO.
These illegal activities amount to assault to the collective interest of the nation and constitute huge economic sabotage running into several million of naira.
Handling over the suspects to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) at Ikot Abasi for prosecution, Commodore Garba said “Let me reiterate that the Chief of Naval Staff strategic directive is aimed at stamping out all forms of illegalities and criminality in the Niger Delta region.
“It is therefore our firm resolve to vigorously pursue this agenda and rid out bad elements in the region,’’ Garba said.
He advised all lawful citizens in the state to go about their normal business without fear of harassment or intimidation adding that the command reiterated its resolve to continue to provide adequate security within the nations territorial waters