The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Jubilee, Ikot Abasi; Forward Operating Base, Ibaka and Naval Out Post, Ikuru, Akwa Ibom State, have halted two wooden Cotonou boats with 19,200 litres of a product suspected to be illegally refined Automative Gas Oil.
The NNS Commander, Commodore Saidu Garba, said in Ikot Abasi on Wednesday that four persons suspected to be involved in bunkering were arrested, following a tip-off from those he called good-spirited members of the youth in Ataba community.
The suspects are Solomon Ikpoko, 28, from Andoni Local Council; Iwoh Matthew, 39, from Andoni Local Council; Godspower Solomon, 29, from Andoni all in Rivers State; and Festus Bagbegha, 24, from Burutu in Delta State.
Garba stated that the SPECIAL patrol team of NOP Ikuru raided the creek in the Ataba area and in the process arrested three pirates who had been terrorising innocent citizens and maritime commuters.
“The arrest took place after the three sea robbers robbed four WOMEN in the creeks , when they (victims) were returning from their daily trading activities by boat. The robbers collected money and handsets from the victims.
“In another development, a combined patrol team of the NNS Jubilee and NOP, Ikuru, arrested four people involved in illegal oil bunkering. Two wooden Cotonou boats laden with 75 by 250 litres drums and 9 by 50 litres jerry cans of a product suspected to be illegally refined Automative Gas Oil, were also seized by the navy.
“These hoodlums have been thoroughly investigated, or profiled. They will be handed over to the Nigeria Police for prosecution,” he said.
The commander attributed the success of the operation to information sharing and cooperation between the Navy and the Ataba community.
Garba reassured Nigerians of NNS’ commitment to fosterering community relations to eliminate all forms of economic sabotage and crime in the maritime domain.
He cautioned oil thieves, pipeline vandals, sea robbers and other criminals within Akwa Ibom State to engage in productive businesses and stay away from all forms of nefarious activities.
One of the suspects, Godspower, said he was sent by one Blessing to help to take delivery of the AGO.