The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS), DELTA, on Friday handed over six suspected oil thieves to the Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) for further investigations and prosecution.
The Commander, NNS DELTA, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu also handed over seven Cotonou boats laden with an estimated 540,000 litres of illegally refined product suspected to be Automated Gasoline Oil (AGO).
Dewu, who was represented by the Executive Officer (XO) of the NNS DELTA, Navy Capt. Adeyemi Adewuyi, said the suspects were apprehended on March 6.
He said upon interrogation, the suspects disclosed that they bought the product from Opudebubo Creek in Warri South-West Local Government Area.
“We are handing over seven Cotonou boats and six suspects that were arrested on March 6, to the appropriate security agencies.
“The boats were arrested at Opudebubo Creek in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta.
“The suspects said they came all the way from Igbokoda in Ondo State to buy the products from the creek.
“They said they were taking the product to Igbonla in Okitipupa in the Igbokoda area of Ondo state.
“The quantity of the illegally refined AGO is estimated at 540,000 liters.
“We managed to arrest six suspects. The original number of the Cotonou boats was 8, however, one of them sank at the point of arrest, due to leakage.
“Investigation is still on and that is why we are handing them over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for further interrogation,” he said.
The Commander, however, warned criminals who indulged in sabotaging the nation’s assets in the maritime domain to desist.
He said that the Nigerian Navy would not relent in its efforts to stamp out criminal elements in the creeks.
Responding, one of the suspects, who identified himself as Odusola Irewole, said that he was a first timer in the illicit trade.
“This is my first time in the business, I did it because I do not have job,” he said.