The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA on Monday in Warri handed over eight suspected oil thieves and a vessel to the officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Our correspondent reports that the vessel was laden with about 100,000 litres of Automotive Gasoline Oil (AGO) which was believed to have been illegally acquired by the suspects.
The Commander, NNS DELTA, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, said while handing over the vessel, MV Mama Elizabeth 1 to the commission that the suspects were apprehended on March 15 within the Escravos axis.
Dewu, represented by the Executive Officer (XO) of the NNS DELTA, Navy Capt. Adeyemi Adewuyi, warned those engaged in illegal businesses in the maritime domain to desist from the act.
He said that those indulging in the unwholesome business would be made to face the full wrath of the law when caught.
“The vessel, MV Mama Elizabeth 1 was apprehended on March 15, 2019, around Escravos for carrying AGO of about 100,000 liters without valid naval approval.
“It may interest you to note that MV Mama Elizabeth 1 was apprehended because it failed to obtain naval approval before carrying the product.
“After our investigations, the naval headquarters directed this morning that the MV Mama Elizabeth 1 and the suspects be handed over to the EFCC for further investigations and possible prosecution.
“At the time of their arrest, there were eight suspects on board. They were all crew members. They are all going to be handed over to the EFCC along with the vessel.
“My warning is for those people that are committing maritime crimes to desist because the Nigerian navy will not relent in her efforts to apprehend the perpetrators of the crime,”Adewuyi warned.
Responding after the handover, the Principal Detective Superintendent with EFCC, Benin zonal office, Mr. Richard Ogberaga, said the commission would conduct thorough investigation into the matter.
He added that those found culpable would be punished accordingly.
“We are going to carry out thorough investigation.
“First, we will look at the source of the product and the quality of the product. These are the things we are going to look at. If there’s any culpability of anyone, we are going to prosecute them.
“We have started with the taking of the samples,” he said.