The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area (LGA) of Akwa Ibom, has impounded four wooden boats laden with 16,000 litres of illegally-refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and arrested 30 suspects.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Navy Capt. Mohammed Abu, disclosed this to newsmen in Ibaka on Saturday, when he handed over the exhibits and suspects to a representative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Abu said the Nigerian Navy Ship, Thunder, commanded by Navy Capt. Christian Akokota, intercepted four boats between Nov. 27 and 28.
He said the boats, laden with 16,000 litres of illegally-refined AGO and 12,500 litres of AGO mixed with water and 370 bags of fish, were handed over to FOB Ibaka on Nov. 29.
“We are gathered here for the handing over of suspects that were caught at sea infracting the economic policy of this country.
Continuing, the Commander said “The boats are right behind me, four in number, one of the boats was laden with 16,000 litres of illegal refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 12,500 litres of AGO mixed with water.
“The other boat was carrying 113 empty drums of 250kg capacity and the last boat was carrying 370 bags of fish.
“The suspects are 30 in number, details of the handing over are contained in the handing over note that I am presenting to the NSCDC representative, and this is a demonstration of inter agency cooperation.
“The arrest is premised on the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Auwul Gambo, of zero tolerance to all forms of criminalities on our maritime domain, particularly, smuggling, crude oil theft and other vices that are being perpetrated by individuals on our maritime domain.
“As a prosecuting agency, once they are done with the investigation and prosecution, they will revert back to the Nigerian Navy, the outcome of their investigation and prosecution,” Abu said.
Receiving the exhibits and suspects, on behalf of the NSCDC, Assistant Commandant of Corps, Adamu Jafa’aru, Head of Anti Vandalism Unit, Akwa Ibom Command, assured that the agency would carry out a thorough investigation and all those found culpable would be prosecuted.
“I have received 30 suspects and four boats and other exhibits on behalf of the NSCDC.
“The Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi, has ordered us to go after all forms of vandalism,” he said.
He warned vandals and all those sabotaging the economy of the nation to desist from their heinous crimes, as the agency would not relent in its mandate of protecting government’s critical infrastructure.
He thanked the Nigerian Navy for their resilience in ensuring safety along Nigerian maritime environment. (NAN)