The Nigerian Navy yesterday in Lagos said that it arrested five suspected oil thieves and recovered a locally made boat loaded with petroleum products on Lagos waters.
The outgoing Flag Officer (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade, made the statement while addressing officers and ratings of the Command at the NNS BEECROFT parade ground.
Alade also said that the suspects were being interrogated and would be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency if found culpable.
The FOC said that the outcome of the interrogation would reveal where and how the products were stolen.
He said that the Federal Government had approved the establishment of a Forward Operation Base (FOB) at Majidun in Ikorodu, Lagos.
Alade said that the aim of the FOB in Ikorodu was to reduce the activities of pipeline vandals in the area.
“You are all aware that we recently raided Majidun area of Ikorodu, where vandals have practically converted into a safe haven for their criminal activities.
“Over 300,000 jerry cans fully loaded with fuel were recovered.
“All the jerry cans were buried in the murky waters of Majidun River.
“Under my watch, 17 vessels being used by criminals to steal petroleum products were arrested.
“Some of them are in court, while investigations on others are still ongoing,” he said.
Alade further said that his administration had been able to reduce crime in Nigeria’s waterways by putting at least one naval gunboat on patrol each day.
The rear admiral urged naval officers and ratings in the command to stay away from partisan politics and focus on providing adequate security on Nigeria’s waters.
He urged the newly appointed FOC, Admiral Jonathan Ango, to contribute his quota to improved security in the nation’s exclusive economic zone.
“If the Chief of Naval Staff does not believe in you, he would not have appointed you as the FOC,” Alade said.
Responding, Ango urged commanders, principal officers and other personnel of the command to cooperate with him to enable him to succeed.
He said that the command would focus on ridding the waterways of all forms of criminality.—Ships and Ports