- The Nigerian Navy has scored another victory against crude oil pipeline vandals
- About 130,000 litres of illegally refined diesel, worth about N24 million, was recovered
- Seven suspects were arrested and handed over to the NSCDC, along with the recovered products
- The leader of the suspects disclosed that they brought the products from Rivers state to sell in Calabar
A large wooden boat with about 130,000 litres of suspected illegally refined Automative Gas Oil (AGO) commonly known as diesel has been seized by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Victory in Calabar, the Cross River state capital.
Seven suspected crude oil pipeline vandals were arrested along with the items, The Nation reports.
The commander of NNS Victory, Commodore Julius Nwagu, while handing over the suspects and the product to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), said the suspects were intercepted along the Calabar channel.
He said the boat contained 520 drums (250 litres each) of suspected illegally refined diesel. He put the worth of the product at about N24 million.
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Nwagu said: “My men on patrol intercepted a wooden boat laden with 520 drums of suspected illegally refined AGO and when I was informed, I asked them to arrest the boat and bring the boat to my base. That was done and the following day we commenced offloading and I am here to hand over the drums to Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
“Seven men were arrested with the products. We are handing over everything. The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, gave me directives and the directives were clear on issues of illegalities and I want to assure you that I will not blink until perpetrators of heinous sabotage to our national economy are brought to book.
“On investigation, we found that that these products came from Rivers state and the final destination was Calabar before they ran into my security patrol boats.”
Receiving the suspects and the product, the commander of the NSCDC in Cross River, Haliru Usman Alhassan, thanked the Navy for a good job, while also promising to prosecute the suspects.
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According to him, what would happen to the products would depend on what the court says.
During interrogation, the 30-year-old leader of the suspects identified as Christopher Okon, disclosed that it was his second time on such trip.
Okon, who hails from Mbo in Akwa Ibom state said they brought the products from Rivers state to sell in Calabar. He said the business belonged to one Tony.
In an earlier report by Legit.ng, the Nigerian Navy said it seized a large vessel, MT Breakthrough, for allegedly transporting 4,574 metric tons (5.790 million litres) of crude oil.
Captain Victor Choji, the executive officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, told newsmen on Friday, February 2, that the product was suspected to have been stolen from pipelines in Niger Delta.
He added that 11 sailors were arrested on board the vessel. According to him, the vessel had been on the navy watch list for suspicious activities over time before the seizure.
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