The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Thursday handed over four wooden boats containing 972 drums and 594 Jerry cans to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The kegs, which were all empty, were said to have been abandoned by suspected vandals on April 17, along Badagry-Benin Republic waterways.
Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Commodore Maurice Eno said the suspects, who were on their way to vandalise pipelines, abandoned the boats and fled upon sighting naval operatives.
He said: “At about 5:00 p.m. on April 17, naval personnel arrested four boats at sea among Badagry/Benin Republic route in a village called jegeme for alleged involvement in pipeline vandalism.
“A team from the Navy Forward Operating Base in Badagry first sighted the boat at anchorage poised for illegal act. Assistance was subsequently sought for from BEEROFT to effect arrest.
“Accordingly, patrol boats were sent from NNS BEECROFT to arrest and tow the boats to the base. However, the owners of the boats escaped on sighting the naval team.
“As at the time of the arrest, the boats were carrying 972 drums and 594 empty Jerry cans. There were also three pumping machines, three coils of rubber hoses as well as 14 outboard engines onboard the boats.
“We have cogent intelligence that there are other collaborators that indulge in pipeline vandalism and oil theft. The navy warns pipeline vandals and other criminal elements particularly in our maritime environment to turn a new leaf and pursue legal means of livelihood, otherwise the law will catch up on them.
“I encourage well- meaning Nigerians to give useful information to the navy on all forms of criminality going on in their area. The navy would continue to hunt economic saboteurs and enemies of the nation.”
Eno reiterated NNS BEECROFT’s drive to safeguard maritime resource, which is part of the navy’s constitutional roles.