Oil theft: Navy arrests 3 over alleged fake crude oil approvals

Nigeria Navy personnel on patrol


The Nigeria Navy has arrested three suspects over alleged falsification of its approval for shipment of 150,000 litres of suspected adulterated diesel in Rivers.

Commodore Desmond Igbo, Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, disclosed this on Tuesday in Port Harcourt during the handover of the suspects to the Nigeria Police Force.

He said that the three suspects gave fake navy oil approval to a vessel, MV Mother Gabrini – with one of the suspects parading himself as a navy officer.

“On Nov. 8, troops attached to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Bonny arrested MV Mother Gabrini for suspected illegal bunkering activities.

“During preliminary investigation, the crew presented a fake NNS Pathfinder oil approval, which necessitated the base to spring into action to apprehend the persons involved in the forging of our approval.

“Three suspects (who forged the oil approval) were trailed and arrested at different locations after a one-week sustained intelligence-led operation,” he said.

Igbo said the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla had directed troops to end all forms of criminal activities within the nation’s maritime environment.

According to him, findings showed that criminals were increasingly adopting new tactics of faking approvals to move petroleum products undetected on the waterways.

“The arrest was possible due to our sustained efforts to curb crude oil theft and illegal bunkering by denying criminals elements freedom of action.

“One of three arrested suspects, Williams Nweale, impersonated by wearing navy camouflage and conducting illegal security escorts in Rivers state.

“Nweala named one Azubuike as supplier of the camouflage. Troops are already on the fleeing suppliers’ trail to determine the source of the uniform,” he added.

The navy commander said troops also found two additional camouflage and other military uniforms and incriminating items in Nweale’s apartment.

The navy, he said, had begun taking actionable steps to arrest all oil thieves and illegal bunkers within the state, warning them to desist from their criminal activities.

“Investigation shows that criminal elements involved in economic sabotage have resorted to a new tactics of issuing forged documents to facilitate illegal bunkering activities.

“We therefore request members of the public to support us by providing useful information about criminal activities in their domain,” Igbo said.

CSP Olufunke Opayemi, who received the suspects and items on behalf of the Police Command in Rivers, said the command would conduct speedy investigation into the matter.

She said the suspects would be prosecuted in court if found culpable of the allegations against them. (NAN)


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