Men of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Victory in Calabar, Cross River State, have arrested four suspected Premium Motor Spirit thieves with 20, 000 litres of the product.
The suspects, who were arrested along the Calabar channel, were coming from Oron in Akwa Ibom State and heading to Bakassi with the product commonly known as petrol.
Handing them over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for prosecution, Commander of NNS Victory, Commodore Julius Nwagu, said moves were on to also arrest the kingpins behind the crime.
Nwagu said, “We are handing over eight drums of PMS that was seized by my men while on patrol along the Calabar channel. The said products were laden in a wooden boat with four men on board. My men were able to arrest the suspects and the products in the darkest time of the night.
“This is coming less than one week after we handed over some smuggled rice worth N61m to the Nigeria Customs Service. We cannot continue to allow these perpetrators go free. Any product they put on water, we are going to go for them.
“PMS is currently available in filing station outlets and depots, so, why the smuggling? Why would they go about destroying Federal Government installation through sabotage? Why follow this backyard?
“We would stay here and continue to arrest them. We are not going to get tired no matter the pressure. Our targets are now the owners of these products. We are going to get them, they cannot go free.
“What I have done now is that whenever we handover, we give a copy to the headquarters of NSCDC for them to be aware. I have also written to other security agencies informing them of the arrests that we have made so far. We are synergising to ensure that we rid off the state of criminals.”
Sate Commandant of NSCDC, Stephen Lar, said his agency would form collaborative intelligence with the Navy to arrest the sponsors of the crime.
“We would continue to prosecute them in the court after thorough investigation. We would be having a combined intelligence to make sure that we get the real owners because these are errand boys. We would fish out those behind the crime and we shall have them prosecuted in the court of law,” he said.
Those arrested were 26-year-old Okon Ekpo from Akwa Ibom State, Jeremiah Iyohokwa (25) from Akwa Ibom, Israel Tabi (30), from Bayelsa State and Raphael Etim-Philip (25), Akwa Ibom State.
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