Navy arrests 2 boats with N20.4m illegally refined diesel in Rivers
NIGERIAN Navy has arrested two boats carrying about 100, 000 litres of illegal diesel worth N20.4 million on the waterways in Akuku Toru local government area of Rivers state.
Base Operations Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder , Commander Ugochukwu Ajulu, revealed to newsman yesterday, saying those arrested will be handed over to the appropriate security agency for prosecution.
“In-line with strategic directives from naval authorities, on March 31, our troops on routine patrol impounded two wooden boats carrying suspected illegally refined diesel in quantity of about 100,000 litres.
The first wooden boat transporting about 60 drums fully loaded with suspected stolen diesel was impounded along Bakana waterways with three suspects on-board.
The second boat which had over 100 drums laden with illegally refined diesel was seized while it anchored at Aiteo jetty near Abonema.”, he said.
While adding that about 5,000 litres of diesel was also stored in a compartment on the boat, Ajulu said that naval operatives were unable to make any arrest from the second boat as its crew members had fled the scene on sighting advancing naval patrol gunboats.
The Commander also added that preliminary investigation was ongoing to unravel the source and supply chain of the products.
According to him, the suspects will be handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for further investigation and possible arraignment in court.
Ajulu called on members of the public to provide the navy with timely information that would lead to arrest of oil thieves, adding that identity of such individuals would be protected.
One of the suspects, .Timothy Williamson, 33, admitted the crime before newsmen and pleaded for mercy from authorities.
Williamson, a Rivers indigene, said he was recruited into oil bunkering in January by a woman simply identified as “Mama”, who distributed the product to some companies in the state.
“We work for our madam (mama) who we usually cook the product for at our operating base in Snake creek in the state.
“We supply the product to our madam in the city who in turn supplies the product to Peace Oil located at Elechi Beach Area of Port Harcourt.
“Please forgive me as I only indulged myself in this business (oil theft) because I had no job and money to feed myself and cater for my family,” Williamson pleaded.