Nine foreign nationals who allegedly siphoned petroleum products from an oil pipeline at the Atlas Cove area have been handed over to the officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) by the Nigerian Navy.
The nine men, including a Nigerian, Ghanaian and seven Beninoises were arrested at the Atlas Cove area on May 12, 2019, by operatives of the NNS BEECROFT, with over 200 jerry cans of fuels allegedly stolen from broken pipeline at the area.
Handing over the men to officials of the NSCDC in Lagos, Captain Adewale Odejobi, the Executive Officer of the NNS BEECROFT said that the force had concluded investigations on the persons arrested, hence the decision to hand them over to the NSCDC for prosecution.
He said that the men were arrested by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) NGURU on May 12, 2019 and preliminary investigation indicated that they were not authorised to be in possession of the product at the time of their arrest.
His words: “On May 12, 2019, at about 18:00, a naval boat on routine patrol along Nigeria – Benin Republic boarder intercepted two boats conveying a total of 85 x 250 liter drums and another 150 X 25 liter plastic cans suspected to be containing Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) believed to have been stolen from NNPC pipeline laid on the Atlas Cove Island.
“As at the time of the intercept, the two boats had a total of nine crewmembers comprising of one Nigerian, one Ghanaian and seven Beninoise. Investigation into the matter is ongoing with the view to unravelling their local collaborators.
“The act of illegally trading in petroleum product around the Atlas Cove Island is unfortunate. Most of these illegalities are perpetuated with the collaboration and assistance of some unpatriotic Nigerians. It is worthy of note that the Nigerian Navy under the leadership of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral IE Ibas, is determined to rid our waterways and its connected creeks of all forms of criminality.
“The Nigerian Navy ship BEECROFT, is therefore committed to assisting Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) to deal with the issue of petroleum product theft. The Nigerian Navy therefore, uses this medium to warn oil thieves and other criminal elements particularly in our maritime environment to desist from these nefarious activities and pursue lawful means of livelihood. Otherwise, they will surely be brought to justice.”
Earlier the Commander of the NNS BEECROFT Commodore I A Shettima, had called on well-meaning citizens of the country to dissociate themselves from illegality and give useful information to the Nigerian Navy or other security agencies on all forms of criminalities in their areas.
He said that the Nigerian Navy is ever focused and would continue to hunt the criminal elements.