Operatives of the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have commenced an investigation of 13 suspected oil thieves handed over to it by the Nigerian Navy.
The suspects were handed over to the EFCC on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, by the Nigerian Naval Ship, NNS Pathfinder, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, Rivers State for allegedly dealing in petroleum products without appropriate licences.
The suspects are Goodnews Wilfred, Gabriel Awadis, Monday Anja, Sylvanus Benson, Timothy Rufus, Appolos Awajis, Tombari Lede, Ebirene Ebirene, Friday Aaron, Ataije Ebirene, Ibrahiim Attah, Shuaibu Magaji and Odeon Emmanuel.
The NNS Pathfinder’s Base Operating Officer, Commander U. A. Sidi, while handing over the suspects, said that they were arrested on May 3, 2022, by Naval operatives while conducting anti-illegal bunkering raids in some communities around Cawthorne channels, Port Harcourt.
Sidi further explained that the communities combed by Naval operatives were allegedly serving as semi-shelter stations and critical enablers to crude oil thieves and forward logistic stations for transportation of materials and equipment being used for the construction and establishment of illegal refining camps.
Items handed over to the EFCC alongside the suspects are: two generating sets, nine pumping machines, and 24 iron pipes. Others are welding equipment, one motor jack lift, filters, hoses and 20 metal sheets being used for the construction of storage tanks and reservoirs for stolen crude.
Receiving the suspects and exhibits on behalf of the Commission, Assistant Superintendent of the EFCC, ASE Abduljaleel Hassan, commended the Navy for its collaboration and synergy with the EFCC in the fight against illegal oil bunkering. He assured that thorough investigations would be carried out and culpable suspects prosecuted accordingly.