The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Jubilee, Ikot Abasi; Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, and Naval Outp ost, Ikuru, Akwa Ibom State, have impounded two wooden Cotonou boats with 19,200 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined Automative Gas Oil.
The NNS Commander, Commodore Saidu Garba, said in Ikot Abasi on Wednesday that four persons suspected to be involved in bunkering were also arrested, based on a tip off from the youth in Ataba community.
The suspects are Solomon Ikpoko, 28; Iwoh Matthew, 39; and Godspower Solomon, 29, all from Andoni in Rivers State. The fourth suspect is Festus Bagbegha, 24, from Burutu, Delta State.
Garba said that the special patrol team of NOP Ikuru raided the creek around Ataba area and in the process, arrested three suspected sea pirates who had allegedly been unleashing terror on the area.
“The arrest took place after the three sea robbers had robbed four women in the creeks who were just returning from their daily trading activities by boat. The robbers collected money and mobile phones from the victims.
Also, a combined patrol team of NNS Jubilee and NOP Ikuru arrested four hoodlums involved in illegal oil bunkering. Two wooden Cotonou boats laden with 75 by 250 litres drums and nine by 50 litres jerry cans of product suspected to be illegally refined Automative Gas Oil, were also seized by the Navy.
“These hoodlums and criminals have been thoroughly investigated, or profiled: they would be handed over to the Nigeria Police for prosecution,” he said.
Garba attributed the success of the operation to information sharing and cooperation between the Navy and the Ataba community.
One of the suspects, Godspower, said he was sent by one Blessing to help take delivery of the AGO.
He said, “One woman, Blessing, asked me to help pick the AGO. I haven’t seen her since I was arrested. I feel bad about this. The problem is that there is so much hunger.”