The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has impounded four wooden boats laden with 16,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and arrested 30 suspects.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Navy Capt. Mohammed Abu, told newsmen in Ibaka during the handover of the exhibits and suspects to a representative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
According to Abu, the Nigerian Navy Ship Thunder, commanded by Navy Capt. Christian Akokota, intercepted four boats between November 27 and 28.
He added that the boats laden with 16,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 12, 500 litres of AGO mixed with water and 370 bags of fish were handed over to FOB Ibaka on November 29.
He said: “We are gathered here for the handing over of suspects that were caught at sea infracting the economic policy of this country.
“Suffice to state at this juncture, that the Nigerian Navy Ship Thunder, commanded by Navy Capt. Christian Akokota, intercepted four boats between Nov. 27 and 28.
“These boats and the suspects were handed over to FOB Ibaka on Nov. 29. Consequently, we are handing over the suspects and the boats to the representative of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“The boats are right behind me, four in number, one of the boats was ladened with 16, 000 litres of illegal refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 12, 500 litres of AGO mixed with water.
“The other boat was carrying 113 empty drums of 250kg capacity, and the last boat was carrying 370 bags of fish.
“The suspects are 30 in number, details of the handing over are contained in the handing over note that I am presenting to the representative of NSCDC.
“The arrest is premised on the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Auwul Gambo, of zero tolerance to all forms of criminalities on our maritime domain, particularly, smuggling, crude oil theft and other vices that are being perpetrated by individuals on our maritime domain.
“On this note, I am handing over the suspects and the exhibits to the representative of NSCDC, and this is a demonstration of inter-agency cooperation.
“As a prosecuting agency, once they are done with the investigation and prosecution, they will revert back to the Nigerian Navy the outcome of their investigation and prosecution,” Abu said.
Receiving the exhibits and suspects, on behalf of NSCDC, Assistant Commandant of Corps, Adamu Jafa’aru, Head of Anti Vandalism Unit, Akwa Ibom Command, assured that the agency would carry out a thorough investigation and all those found culpable would be prosecuted.
“I have received 30 suspects and four boats and other exhibits on behalf of NSCDC. The Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi, has ordered us to go after all forms of vandalism,” he said.
He warned vandals and all those sabotaging the economy of the nation to desist from their heinous crimes, as the agency would not relent in its mandate of protecting the government’s critical infrastructure.