16 Ukrainians who were arrested by the Nigerian Navy, in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State for their alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering within the Nigerian territorial waters have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for persecution.
According to Punch, while handing over the suspects to the EFCC on board the vessel named San Padre Pio, the Naval Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base, Bonny, Navy Capt. Suleiman Olorundare, explained that the Ukrainians were apprehended in January
Olorundare stated that the suspects were without Cabotage clearance from the Nigerian Maritime Safety and Administration Agency to operate on Nigerian water.
“On January 23, 2018, MT San Padre Pio was arrested offshore by our operatives around Odudu Oil Field within our territorial water. It was engaged in illegal trade that contravenes our national law, particularly the Cabotage law.
“We discovered the vessel carried 5000 metric tonnes of product suspected to be Automated Gasoline Oil (diesel) with 16 crews on board; all Ukrainians,” he said.
While speaking on why the handing to the EFCC to this long, Olorundare said “There is a procedure that needs to be followed; and it is a standard operating procedure in respect of arrest, detention and handing over for prosecution of crimes like this.
“The Chief of Naval Staff has given us the mandate to maintain zero tolerance for criminal activities within our maritime environment and that mandate we are determine to implement it to the letter.”
Naija News gathered that the Senior Detective Inspector of EFCC, Mr. Aminu Ismail who took custody of the Ukrainians said that more investigation would be carried out and that the commission would sent a letter to the Ukrainian embassy notifying it of the fact that their citizens is in the custody of the commission.
He stated, “We will confirm the authenticity of the products laden in the vessel, after which we will continue with our investigation and if they (suspects) are found wanting, they will be handed over for prosecution according to the Nigerian law.”