By Emma Una – Calabar
The Nigerian Navy has warned petroleum products, thieves, smugglers and vandals to stay away from the country’s waterways as any of them caught carrying out illegal activity would be made to face the wrath of the law.
Hading the warning at the weekend in Calabar, Commodore Vincent Okeke Commander NNS Victory said with the Yuletide approaches, smugglers and vandals may want to increase their activities but the Navy is ever ready to combat their activities
Commodore Okeke who stated this while handing over eight petroleum products smugglers to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NNSC, for further investigation and prosecution said it is an economic crime to vandalise pipelines or illegally export petroleum products imported into the country and sold at subsidized rates to other counties.
“In line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas, on the need for all Nigerian Navy Operations Bases to stamp out smuggling and oil bunkering in our territorial waters, NNS Victory in line with that directives has continued to make arrests of rice smugglers and oil vandals.
He said the Base arrested three wooden boats laden with drums of substance suspected to be petroleum motor spirit at Ibaka in Akwa Ibom State being transited to Cameron.
“The drums of suspected PMS were concealed under empty drums all in a bid to evade arrest, however after offloading at the Base, a total of eighty-one drums of PMS were recovered ”
He gave the names of the vandals to include: Blessing Etim, Anono Solomon, Christopher Enefiong, Blessed Sampson Akpan, Uzoma James, Edet Ekpenyong and Emmanuel Iseh.
He said NNS Victory will not relent in its efforts to stamp out smuggling and bunkering of petroleum products and stated that the arrest of the eight underscores its determination to combat crime in Nigeria’s waters and warned criminals to stay away from the area.
Commodore Okeke said it is in keeping with extant rules that the suspects were being handed over to the NSCDC for further investigations and onward prosecution.
“Let me use this opportunity to sensitise the public the dangers smuggling poses on the nation’s economy and warn anyone with such plans to have a change of heart because the law will catch up with him/her.”