Navy arrests 28 suspected oil thieves in Ondo
Men of the Anti-Crude Oil Theft patrol team of the Forward Operating Base of the Nigerian Navy, Igbokoda, Ondo State, have arrested 28 suspected oil thieves for allegedly stealing 527,810 litres of crude oil offshore.
The military said the suspects were arrested in the last five days at different locations in the Awoye riverine community of Ilaje Local Government Area of the state.
The Commanding Officer of the FOB, Captain Wasuku Alushi, disclosed this at the naval base in Igbokoda, the headquarters of Ilaje LGA, on Friday.
He said, “We intercepted a wooden boat, popularly known as ‘Cotonou Boat’ laden with approximately 12,000 liters of crude oil, around Illepte offshore at Awoye riverine community in Ilaje.
“Based on credible intelligence, our men of the anti-crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering team intercepted the large wooden boat and 11 men on the ground transshipping the suspected stolen crude into another boat as the first Cotonou boat was taking in water. Two other speedboats were also arrested alongside the wooden boat.”
The Commanding officer further stated that last week, “a 15000 metric tons vessel, Mt Vinnalaris 1 Lagos, laden with about 515,870 litres of stolen crude oil and 17 suspects were arrested at seven nautical miles, off the coast of Awoye riverine community, while actively siphoning crude oil from a wellhead operated by CONOIL at Ebesan Oil Field,” Alushi added.
According to Alushi, the mandate of the base was to serve as a force multiplier for the Western Naval Command, in furtherance of its policing duties, particularly to stamp out the menace of crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, and other crimes in Igbokoda and its environs.
“The suspects and exhibits would be handed over to the appropriate agency of the government for further action,” he noted.