The regular surveillance of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, has yielded results with the arrest of 12 suspected oil thieves.
The suspects were arrested in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.
The FOB’s Commanding Officer, Commodore Abdu Odumu, disclosed this to newsmen on Monday.
He said 200 drums of 250 litres each of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) were also seized from the suspects.
Odumu said other items seized were the smugglers’ boat, four pumping machine and 20 drums of illicit gin.
“It was as a result of regular patrol that we were able to arrest these suspects,’’ he said.
Odumu noted that oil theft had drastically reduced the nation’s revenue from crude oil.
“If Nigeria continues to lose this on daily basis, it is going to have a negative impact on the revenue of the country,’’ he said.
Odumu said the Nigerian Navy would ensure zero tolerance on oil theft and other illegalities committed at sea within Nigeria’s territorial waters.
He then handed over the suspects to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Odumu said that the arrest would serve as a deterrent to others.
In his response, Mr Pedro Ideba, the NSDCDC’s Commandant in Akwa Ibom, congratulated the Nigerian Navy on its effort to clamp down oil theft in the state.
“This is one of the numerous arrests made by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to us. It is only in Nigeria that we had a lot of oil theft and bunkering activities,’’ he said.
Ideba said that the command would continue to partner with the Nigerian Navy in order to reduce oil theft to its barest minimum.
“We want to discourage those who want to sabotage the economy of the country and ensure that we won’t disappoint Nigerians as we go about our lawful duties,’’ he said.
Ideba said that the suspects would be subjected to investigation and those found wanting would be prosecuted
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