… Recovers 1400 jerry cans with stolen petroleum, boat
By Evelyn Usman
The importance of petroleum oil to the economic growth of Nigeria can be compared to that of breath to human, as the nation relies majorly on the revenue from oil.
Unfortunately, the benefit of oil which is meant to be a blessing to the nation is not felt by the teeming populace who still struggle to eke a living.
This was attributed largely to activities of oil thieves in several parts of the country. As at last year, the country was said to be losing N33 million daily to oil thieves whose nefarious activities particularly in the Niger Delta.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had also at a function, disclosed that Nigeria was losing about 400, 000 barrels of oil to thieves daily, an amount he estimated at about N4.8 billion daily.
Ironically, while Nigeria loses 400,000 barrels of oil daily, a country like Ghana survives on less than 150, 000 barrels per day. The militancy in the south was attributed to the reduction in oil production.
One major petroleum products supply and distribution depot which has suffered series of attacks from oil thieves is the Atlas Cove located in Lagos, which supplies petroleum products to other Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation depots within the western part of the country.
A vivid attack on the installation was that by militants ten years ago, where three naval personnel including one Commander Kolawole Joseph Aweh, were burnt beyond recognition.
The offensive attack took place at about 10.30pm penultimate day, as militants who were armed to their teeth stormed the oil installation in 15 boats and opened fire sporadically at the sight of a naval personnel who was said to be the Officer- in-charge, killing him on the spot. Not done, they blew up the installation.
In a determined effort to prevent a repeat of the attack, security was heightened around the area by the Nigerian Navy.
However, as time went by, security of the installation was contracted to Topline Security, in a bid checkmating activities of vandals who usually stormed the area in trucks, through communities around, to siphoned petroleum products which were thereafter taken to neighbouring African countries as well as petrol stations in the country, to sell.
But the presence of members of Topline security did not deter the vandals, as there were reportedly pockets of attacks of the oil installation.
At the moment, security of the oil installation has been put on the door step of the Nigerian Navy, which presence seems to be achieving the desired result, owing to a recent recovery of 1,400 jerry cans loaded with petroleum product by operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos.
The operatives, foiled attempt by vandals to escape with 35,000 litres of petroleum product siphoned from the Atlas Cove.
Vandals, stormed the Atlas Cove jetty which is a major petroleum products supply and distribution, to other Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation depots within the western part of the country at the wee hours. They channelled the flow into to jerry cans that were in a wooden Cotonou boat, for onward transportation to neighboring.
However, on their way out, a team of NNS Beecroft personnel on patrol sighted them, thereby forcing them escape in a smaller out board engine boat, abandoning the boat with the siphoned products.
Briefing journalists on the arrest, the Commander, NNS Beecroft, Rear Admiral Okon Eyo, disclosed that 1400 (25 litres) jerricans filled with the siphoned product were recovered inside the boat.
Eyo, who was represented by the Executive Officer, NNS Beecroft, Captain Hassan Dogara, said the arrest was made at Akaraba water side, following intelligence report on activities of the vandals.
He said, “The boat has 1400 jerry cans of 25 litres of suspected PMS, 27 empty drums and 5 by 75 HP outboard engines. The estimated volume of this product is about 35 ,000 litres and it is valued at N 5, 075,000 million while the boat and out board engines are valued at N15 million.
“It is very important o state that the Atlas Cove is very strategic to the country for its refined reception of petroleum product and distribution to other NNPC depots in Ore, Shagamu, Ibadan and Mosimi areas within the Western part of the country. Consequently, the facility has become very attractive to vandals who go there to steal the product and pirates alike.
“This latest arrest represent a very important achievement of our constitutional mandate and a set back to the logistic requirements of the criminals. The Base will continue to dominate the nation’s waterways in order to prevent the theft of our common wealth”.
He informed that the recovered products and boat would be handed over to the relevant agency for further investigation, adding that the Navy would always be a step ahead of vandals and sea robbers.