By Emma Una
Vandals who are stealing and illegally refining petroleum products in the creeks are bent on destroying the nation’s economy in spite of continued arrests of perpetrators and impounding of such products.
Commodore Vincent Okeke, Commander Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, Victory who stated this in Calabar while parading thirteen suspects arrested with five hundred drums of diesel stolen from oil pipelines in the creeks said in the past one year, over one hundred suspects have been arrested and thousands of drums of illegal products impounded yet they persist in such nefarious activities.
“Pecuniary gains are the driving force behind these illegal activities and they know what they are doing can wreak the economy yet they won’t stop “The Navy on its part will not relent in arresting the perpetrators of these illegal acts and impounding the products”
Okeke said the thirteen suspects and the boat were intercepted with the aid of Nigerian Air force helicopter which tracked the boat to Tomshot Island on its way from Bonny Island to Limbe in Cameroon.
He gave the names of the thirteen suspects as Joshua Ebitimi, Paul Ibo, Okon Ikotedem, Gabriel Sylvanus, Destiny Paul, Effiong John, Philip Joseph, Rowland Timothy, Victor Ekpo, Gidgift Patini and Christian Edet.
“Pertinently, this exercise presents yet another opportunity to reiterate to smugglers that NNS Victory remains resolute in enforcing the mandate of the Chief of Naval Staff to rid Nigeria’s maritime domain of all vices”.
He said the interservice cooperation between the base and 305 Special Mobility Group of the Nigerian Air force which is placing at the disposal of the Navy its EC 305 helicopter for surveillance activities at the sea, the days of militants and vandals are numbered no matter what ingenious means they adopt in their operations
He gave the value of the impounded diesel as 67 million naira and called on the vandals to seek for legal source of livelihood.