The Nigerian Navy has handed over two suspected oil thieves it arrested recently to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Warri, Delta State, for prosecution.
The suspects were apprehended, following the Navy’s increased surveillance to combat crude oil theft in the Niger Delta creeks. The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta, under its new Commander, Commodore Aliyu Sule, arrested two suspected oil thieves – Braye Ogoba and Ikiere Benjamin – near Odimodi community, in the Forcados, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) the Central Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Stanley Ogoigbe, broke the news at the parade of the suspects and their handover.
The Navy also handed over two Sao Tome and Principe nationals to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS). They were said to have been stranded at the Agbami deep offshore oil field.
Rear Admiral Ogoigbe said the authorities at the Warri Naval Base arrested a self-propelled barge, MV Chopin.
The FOC said the barge, believed to be laden with stolen crude oil, was seized near the Forcados River.
He said the two suspects, who he said were originally arrested by a community’s vigilance group with the aid of the Navy, had given useful information on their activities.
According to him, the highly specialised tools found on the suspects showed their plots.
Rear Admiral Ogoigbe said: “We have been patrolling the waterways and our efforts yielded fruits when two suspected oil thieves were arrested before they could carry out their plan. They were arrested by vigilantes and handed over to us. They were going to open up an oil well in the Forcados.”
On the rescue of the two Sao Tome and Principe nationals, he said: “They were rescued recently during our patrol of the waters. The two rescued black expatriates can only speak Portuguese. One of their boats was terribly damaged.”
By Pita Ochai