The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, on Monday, handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission an oil vessel, MT AYSU, which it seized in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The vessel and five crew members were handed over to officials of the EFCC by the Commander of NNS Victory, Commodore Julius Nwagu. He said, “We are here to hand over the vessel, MT AYSU. It was nominated to lift sludge from the Warri refinery, which it did, but failed to deliver it to Titan Projects in Port Harcourt, thereby contradicting the approval by the naval headquarters and the Department of Petroleum Resources.
“The vessel had another approval to load and discharge low fuel pour oil to a tank farm in Calabar, but brought a product that was off specification and not acceptable.
“Based on that, the naval headquarters directed that the vessel should be impounded and handed over to the EFCC.”
He said the vessel was seized on January 31, 2019 transporting 1,500 metric tonnes of cargo though it had the capacity to transport 8,000 metric tonnes. While receiving the vessel and the crew members, the acting Zonal Head of the EFCC in Cross River State, Alex Ebbah, said, “We are going to investigate and prosecute the suspects.”
Earlier, Nwagu had handed over three suspected rice smugglers to the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service along with 190 bags of parboiled rice worth over N3m seized from the suspects. The suspects were identified as Bassey Edet, Sunday Okon and Okon Asuquo Akan.
They were received by the officer in charge of the Eastern Marine Command of the NCS, Assistant Comptroller of Customs Jike Johnson, who promised to prosecute the suspects. The rice was allegedly being smuggled from Cameroon to Oron when it was intercepted.
Also, on Monday, the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral David Adeniran, inaugurated some projects on the NNS Victory premises in Calabar. Some of the projects are a sickbay, tailoring shop, office accommodation and salute dais on the parade ground, among others.
The Forward Operating Base, Nigerian Navy, Ibaka in the Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, says it has arrested eight suspected oil thieves and seized 501 drums of illegal Automotive Gas Oil worth about N35m. The suspects were arrested with three Yamaha outboard engines on Friday, April 5, 2019, based on intelligence reports.
The acting Commanding Officer, FOB, Navy Captain Reginald Adoki, disclosed this on Monday in Ibaka, while handing over the suspects and the seized items to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. He said the suspects were intercepted while conveying a boat loaded with the AGO brought in from Oyorokoto in Rivers State along the Calabar Channel leading to Oron.
Adoki described the activities of the suspects as an economic sabotage, which the Nigerian Navy was committed to stamping out, adding that the handover of the suspects and items to the EFCC was a sign of the navy’s confidence in the commission.
“We have strong evidence that there was a case of conveying illegally refined AGO, which had definitely been lifted from broken pipes by way of crude oil theft, because you need crude oil to refine to be able to get the illegal AGO. This is a clear case of economic sabotage,” he stated.
Receiving the drums of the product, the suspects and other items from the navy, the Uyo Zonal Head of the EFCC, Abdulkarim Chukkoh, who was represented by Alex Ebbah, said, “I want to sincerely, on behalf of the EFCC and my chairman, thank the Nigerian Navy for this noble job.”