Five persons suspected to be part of the kidnapping ring, which abducted the younger sister of the Bayelsa state governor, Chief Seriake Dickson, late last year, have been arrested by men of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta.
Nancy Dickson, the younger sister of Governor Dickson, was abducted by unknown gunmen who had reportedly trailed her to her shop on Okaka Road, Yenagoa, in December last year.
She was released earlier this year.
Speaking to journalists while parading 18 suspects involved in various criminal activities at the Warri Naval Base, the Commander of the NNS Delta, Commodore Joseph Dzunve, who refrained from identifying the individual crimes committed by the suspects, said they were arrested at different location, committing different crimes.
Dzunve, who categorised the suspects into impersonators, oil thieves and sea pirates, also told journalists that the his men had arrested about six Cotonou boats, suspected to be loaded with varying quantities of liquid substance suspected to be stolen crude oil.
Although the navy chief did not speak much on each of the suspects in custody, some of his officers and men, who were involved in handling the arrest told the Nation that the group of suspects, labelled as pirates had confessed to being the ones who held the kidnapped sister of the Bayelsa state governor and only released her after ransom had been obtained.
The alleged abductors of Governor Dickson’s sister were nabbed with explosives, ammunition and a gun making machine which they used to produce local made guns at Okuama community in Ughelli South Council Area of Delta State.
Speaking to journalists, Dzunve said “base on the directive of the CNS to rid the maritime environment of criminals, we are not relenting in our efforts to tackle the situation. It’s in the light that you will notice that we have some criminals in three groups. One group is of impersonators. They go about deceiving civilians claiming to be either naval officers or NUPENG officials to extort and of course they used violence as well.
“Another group is made up of oil thieves. This group is the one responsible for breaking pipes for stealing of crude and refining it illegal in cooking camps. The third group is of pirate suspects. You would have noticed the attempt the navy is making to reduce the rate of piracy in our waters and that is why they are paraded here today”, he said.
According to him, “Most times these groups operate together. You will see by the time you go the weapon and equipment displayed in front of them, you will notice that it represents a workshop they used in manufacturing local guns, weapons, some of which are capable of firing automatic bullets.
When asked about the group of kidnappers, he said “they are pirates and most times they are the same people who take their victims as kidnappers.
Talking about how they were arrested, he said “they were arrested at different time and different locations, but there is none of them here that has been with us for more than 48 hours. Some of them were just brought in as you were coming in.
“It will be difficult for me to know if any of them is a member of the Niger Delta Avengers. We did not arrest purely on the basis of the intelligence that they were suspected to be members of NDA. But like I said before now, they move from one crime type of crime to another. So if they have the local technology to manufacture those kinds of weapons, it is also possible they can also used to blow pipes.
“It will be difficult to give exact quantity because they come in different sizes but I can tell you that some Cotonou boats have the capacity to carry as much as five or more truck-loads of crude”, he said.
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