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Oil theft: Navy hands over five suspects, seized vessels to EFCC in Rivers

The Nigerian Navy Ship, Pathfinder in Rumuolumeni, Rivers State has arrested and handed over five suspected oil thieves, a diesel-laden barge and a tugboat to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for possible prosecution.

The Navy, during the handover, said the suspects, who seized items including a truck used in conveying illegally refined petroleum products, were arrested from different parts of the state.

The NNS Pathfinder Base Operating Officer, Abubakar Sidi, while parading the suspects before newsmen,said the Navy would sustain its aggressive posture in ensuring that oil theft and other related crimes are reduced to a minimum in the state.

Sidi said that following the activation of operation “River Dominance” in January 2022, it had handed over 35 large wooden boats to various prosecuting agencies.

Noting that the Navy’s synergy with sister security agencies, government and local communities played a major role in its operation successes, Sidi said another set of vessels and accompanying suspects undergoing investigation would later be handed over to the EFCC once investigations were concluded.

“You are all witnesses to the fact that the base has maintained an aggressive presence in the waterways. Our tactical riverine assault squadron has conducted several missions and you are all witnesses of the arrests and deterrence we are able to achieve during the conduct of this mission,” Sidi added.

Receiving the suspects and exhibits from the Navy, an Assistant Superintendent of EFCC, Mr. Shaka Arasah, who represented the Port Harcourt Zonal Commandant, Nwakike Nwaneka, said the suspects would be prosecuted according to the law if found culpable.

“On behalf of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa and the Zonal Commander of the Port Harcourt Zonal Command, Mr. Nwakike Nwaneka, I’m here to officially take over the arrested exhibits, christened NV Kanye and tugboat NV Bonny River.

“The next thing after the handing over, we are going to prosecute them if found culpable, they would be brought to book,” he added.

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