Ben Dunno, Warri
Two ocean-going vessels, MV AISHA and MV HAUWA, seized by the men and officers of the Nigerian Naval ship NNS DELTA, while allegedly carrying out illegal bunkering activities along the Delta creeks have been handed over to the officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.
Briefing newsmen on board the seized vessels during the handing over ceremony, the Executive Officer (XO) of NNS DELTA, Navy Captain Festus Adewuyi, disclosed that the vessels were intercepted within its area of coverage while carrying out illegal bunkering activities in the month of February 2016.
Captain Adewuyi, who represented the Commander, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, at the event, disclosed that MV AISHA was caught laden with about 120 tons of illegally refined AGO otherwise known as Diesel while MV HAUWA, was conveying 18tons of the same product as at the time of arrest”.
He explained that the suspects on board the vessels as at the time of arrest had since handed over to the police for prosecution after being interrogated on their level of involvements in the crime of sabotage committed.
He stated that handing over of the vessels to EFCC was in line with directive from the Naval headquarters in Abuja, after all the preliminary and remote investigations had been concluded on the vessels and there was the need to follow due process on the prosecution of offenders.
According to him, “The Nigerian Navy has been given the responsibility to arrest any ship suspected to be carrying out illegalities in the Nigerian maritime domain and these are the type of vessels being referred to and we have arrested them”.
“The Nigerian Navy by law is not allowed to carry out prosecution of offenders because of that, we have being directed to handover the seized vessels to the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) for further investigations and possible prosecution”, he stated.
The leader of the EFCC team from the Benin Zonal office, Mr. Richard Ogberaga, who received the handling over documents, reaffirmed the commitment of the commission to carry out further investigation with the aim of determining level of involvements, content of the vessels and prosecution of those found wanting in the crime.
Officials of Directorates of Petroleum Resources (DPR) were not left out in the entire handing over process, as they were seen taking samples of the content of the vessels for further laboratory test.
One of the DPR staff who spoke under anonymity disclosed that some of the tanks in vessels already inspected are either empty or with half or little of the content inside them.