Twelve suspected oil thieves were yesterday handed over to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps by the Nigerian Navy.
The suspects were arrested for allegedly stealing 161,280 litres of diesel worth N30 million in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Base Operations Officer of the Navy Ship Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, Commander Chindo Yahaya, who also handed over a barge, three wooden boats, a tug boat and 172 drums of diesel to the NSCDC, said the suspects were arrested at different locations of the area.
Yahaya explained that the barge named MV Saviour was filled with 120,000 litres of diesel, adding that wooden boat contained 172 drums and 41,280 litres of stolen diesel.
He said the barge, MV Saviour, contained 120, 000 litres of diesel, while the wooden boats carried a combined capacity of 41, 280 litres of stolen diesel filled into 172 drums.
“On November 25, we went on patrol along Alakiri creek in Asari-Toru Local Government Area based on intelligence report of the presence of two barges; a tug boat and some speed boats lifting crude oil and illegally refined AGO (diesel).
“On arriving at Alakiri creek; the patrol team intercepted a tug boat and a barge with five suspects. Also, on December 1, based on intelligence report, we intercepted three wooden boats loaded with about 172 drums containing substance suspected to be illegally refined AGO at Iyalama creek.
“Upon interrogation, they (suspects) were unable to offer any convincing answers and as such, we have to hand them over to NSCDC for detailed investigation and prosecution,” Yahaya said.
He, however, promised that that Nigerian Navy would not relent in its fights crime on the nation’s waterways.
Yahaya observed that the efforts of the security outfits had reduced the rate of oil theft and pipeline vandalisation in the country.
Receiving the suspects, the State NSCDC Deputy Commandant, Mrs. Christy Abiakam, promised that the corps would investigate the suspects and prosecute any of them found culpable.
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