The Nigerian Navy Ship Victory have arrested six suspects and impounded 299 drums of diesel in separate operations in Calabar.
Also for wooden boats were impounded.
The Commander of NNS Victory, Commodore Vincent Okeke, who made this known to newsmen while handing over two of the suspects and 83 drums of diesel to officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, said the product is worth about N47m
He said the remaining suspects and products would be handed over after the conclusion of investigation.
Okeke said: “On Friday, November 8, 2019, I led one of the operations during NNS Victory patrol routine that intercepted a medium-sized wooden boat laden with 75 drums of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO around Parrot Island about 0230hrs.
“However, on sighting the patrol team, two of the three crew members jumped into the water and escaped. Efforts to apprehend the escapee suspects are ongoing. The name of the suspect arrested with the boat is Mr. Aniyom Mba.
The Commamder further said: “Similarly, at about 1330hrs on the same day, following a tip-off, the Commander NNS Victory, Commodore Vincent Okeke, personally conducted a raid and arrested three wooden boats used to convey some drums of products at the adjoining creeks of Jebbs Town in Calabar South.
“Also, a large number of drums laden with suspected AGO were found floating on the water around the boats. Consequently, the area was cordoned to enable the evacuation of the drums. Four suspects were arrested in the process.”
According to him, on completion of the evacuation and transfer to the Base, “a total of 224 drums of suspected illegally refined AGO were recorded.
“As it is, our investigation has not been able to link the four suspects to the crime. During a subsequent raid at the area on the same day, about 8 drums of the same product which had drum markings were seen in the house of one Mr. Edem Eyo Akiba.”
He, however, said investigations have been concluded in the case of Mr Aniyom Mba involving 75 drums and that of Mr. Edem Akiba with 8 drums and the two suspects and 83 drums were subsequently handed over to NSCDC.
Receiving the products and the suspects, the Cross River State Commander of NSCDC, Danjuma Elisha, commended the Navy for their efforts in curbing illegal smuggling of petroleum products across the territorial waters.
The NSCDC boss said so far they have obtained convictions for the last four suspects handed over to them, adding that they would reach out to their national headquarters on how to dispose off the seized products.