The Nigerian Navy has handed over seven Sri Lankans and two Ghanaians, who were among 66 suspected crude oil thieves arrested in December 2019 by Naval operatives attached to the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, BEECROFT in Lagos to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution, the Independent Newspaper in Nigeria reported.
Speaking during a media briefing in Lagos, Navy Capt. Rafiu Oladejo, Executive Officer, NNS BEECROFT, stated that the suspects would be charged to court before the end of next week, adding that the Navy would also hand over to the EFCC seven vessels used by the suspects to commit the crime.
Oladejo, who represented Commodore Ibrahim Shettima, Commander, NNS BEECROFT, further said that the crude oil found on them was suspected to have been stolen from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) facilities in the Niger Delta region.
He said samples of products found on the seized ships had been taken by officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for laboratory analysis.
He said, “At the time of arrest, the ships were found to be carrying about 2,725.5 metric tonnes of crude oil and 746 metric tonnes of AGO and had no valid approval for the product.
“As you can recall, NNS BEECROFT arrested 12 vessels involved in illegal bunkering activities between December 2019 and January 2020.
“Consequently, officials of EFCC and DPR were invited to take samples of the products for analysis and also to investigate the people involved.
“As a follow up to these actions, the Base will be handing over seven of the arrested vessels to EFCC for prosecution.
“The vessels are MT Tim Bgegele arrested on December 3, 2019. She was found to be carrying 381 metric tonnes of AGO without valid approval. She had a crew of 11 Nigerians onboard.
“MT Zeebrugge was arrested on December 12, 2019 laden with 838 metric tonnes of crude oil without any valid approval. She had a crew of seven Sri-Lakans on board.”
“MT Jonko was arrested on December 21, 2019 laden with 450 metric tonnes of crude oil. As at the time she was arrested, she had a crew of 11 Nigerians onboard.
“MV Ekpere Amaka was arrested on December 25, 2019 with 85 metric tonnes of AGO without valid approval. She had a crew of eight Nigerians on board.
“MV Ella was arrested on December 27, 2019 with 100 metric tonnes of AGO without valid approval. She had a crew of one Ghanaian and six Nigerians on board.
“MT Ibim was arrested on December 27, 2019 laden with 810.5 metric tonnes of crude oil. She had a crew of 14 Nigerians on board.”
Idris Abdullahi Abubakar, Head, Extractive Industry and Fraud Section (EIFS) led a five-man delegation of EFCC officials to the hand-over ceremony. (Colombo Gazette)