BY GABRIEL OKECHUKWU, PORT HARCOURT
Nigerian Navy, NNS Patfinder has arrested five suspected vandals and confiscated Eight Large Wooden boats filled with petroleum products.
The Base Operations Officer NNS Patfinder, Port Harcourt Rivers State, Commander Umar Abubakar, made this known while handing over the suspects and exhibits to Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC at NNS pathfinder Jetty, Port Harcourt Rivers State.
The arrest of the suspects was made by the Tactical Riverine Assault Squadron of Nigerian Navy Patfinder during an intensified raid on water Channels.
The five suspects and the eight Large wooden boats laden with unquantifiable quantity of petroleum products were arrested at Cawthorne Channel and Isaka Junction .
While handing over the suspects to the officers of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC for further investigation and prosecution, the Base Operations Officer, NNS Pathfinder, Commander Umar Abubakar described the arrest as an indication of Nigerian Navy’s Zero tolerance to oil theft.
Commander Abubakar who decried the environmental hazard and colossal waste illegal oil bunkering has caused the nation, expressed optimism that the perpetrators must be brought to book.
“It is a very worrisome problem because they are very determined.
As we destroy, they come back”
“In September and October, we conducted extensive operations in Cawthorne Channel where the illegal refining infrastructures were destroyed, and it was very successful.”
“Our strategy as a base is to destroy the illegal infrastructure and at the same time intercept the movement of the products.”
The NNS Pathfinder Base Operations Officer who warned vandals to to desist from pipelines vandalism insisted that no stones will be left unturned in the bid to fish them out from their hiding places.
The Naval Commander who debunked insinuations of complicity among officers, maintained that Nigerian Navy disciplines any officer who engages in unprofessional Conduct.
Receiving the suspects and exhibits, the Head of Intelligence and Investigation Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Assistant commandant John Ichela applauded the Navy for the feat and gave assurance that proper investigation will be carried and suspects charged to court.
Assistant Commandant Ichela revealed that the Command got over fifty convictions and secured forfeiture of over sixty petroleum trucks and several large barges used for oil theft to the Federal government last year.
“We have perfect collaboration with Nigerian Navy. We are going to conduct thorough investigation and prosecute them”
“As a mandate, we are going to do the needful.”
“What is expected from us is that the suspects will be brought to book”
The NSCDC Rivers State Command Head of Intelligence and Investigation described the collaboration between Nigerian Navy and NSCDC as a move in the right direction towards the eradication of illegal oil deals in Rivers State.