The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta has handed over two suspected oil thieves, to the officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC for further interrogation.
The suspects were handed over to the NSCDC on Wednesday at the premises of the Naval Base in Warri.
Navy Capt. Solomon Paul, Executive Officer of the NNS Delta, handed the suspects to the representatives of the NSCDC on behalf of the Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Chindo Yahaya.
Addressing newsmen, Yahaya said that the suspects were apprehended on Sept. 17, at the Asugbo Creek in Warri South Local Government Area of the state.
He said that the feat was made possible by the NNS Delta patrol team in conjunction with the Ocean Marine Solution (OMS) surveillance staff.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that OMS is an accredited indigenous Nigerian maritime security solutions provider, protecting national assets in the oil and gas industry.
“On Sept. 17, 2023 at about 2:35 pm, the NNS Delta Patrol team in conjunction with the surveillance staff of the OMS, while on patrol at Asugbo Creek discovered a vandalised and leaking pipeline.
“On further enquiry, they noticed an illegal connection on the pipeline.
“The team searched the surrounding area and intercepted three persons in a canoe boat, 20 metres away from the vandalised pipelines.
“They wanted to escape but two among them were intercepted,” he said,“he said.
The naval officer said that the suspects were brought to the navy base and after interrogation, they claimed to be fishermen.
He said that fishing gear was not found with them neither did the patrol team observed fishing nets, or hooks within the immediate environment they were apprehended.
Yahaya added that the suspects were unable to provide convincing explanation on why they attempted to escape, and the where about of their accomplice.
He said that there was a need for thorough investigation to ascertain those responsible for the illegal connection on the oil pipeline in Asugbo Creek for appropriate legal action.
Yahaya warned those who indulged in crude oil theft and other forms of criminal activities in the maritime space to desist henceforth.
He said that NNS Delta, in line with the Chief of Naval Staff , “Strategic Directive 2023 – 6” would ensure that her areas of responsibility was rid of oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
Mr Victor Igbinoba, Divisional Head Officer, NSCDC in Warri South Local Government Area received the suspects on behalf of the corps.
Igbinoba promised that the suspects would be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted in line with law.(NAN)