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Economic Sabotage: EFCC Quizzes 11 Suspected Oil Thieves In Rivers

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The Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has initiated an investigation into 11 suspected oil thieves and an ocean-going vessel, MFT Trade Wind.

It was gathered that the suspects and the vessel were handed over to the EFCC by the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) FORMOSO, Brass, Bayelsa State, for onward investigation.

Naija News reports that the development comes as President Bola Tinubu continues their efforts at stabilizing the country’s economy. Overtime experts have suggested that oil thieves and bunkers have played a key role in sabotaging the nation’s economy.

The suspects were apprehended by the Nigerian Navy on February 7, 2024, around Fish Town, Rivers State, while aboard the MFT Trade Wind, which was laden with approximately 40,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).

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Navy Captain Murtala Aminu Rogo, the handing-over officer, revealed that the vessel was intercepted by FOB FORMOSO for its alleged involvement in illegal bunkering activities. He further disclosed that the vessel was suspected of supplying its illicit contents to other vessels at sea. Laboratory evaluations conducted on samples from the vessel confirmed the presence of illegally refined AGO.

“The activity of the 11 suspected oil thieves and the vessel MFT Trade Wind constitutes economic sabotage, which the Nigerian Navy has vowed to combat,” Navy Captain Rogo told reporters.

Upon receiving the suspects and the vessel, Assistant Commander of the EFCC, ACE II Salim Abubakar, expressed appreciation for the collaborative efforts between the Nigerian Navy and the EFCC. He assured that thorough investigations would be conducted into the matter, with the possibility of prosecution for those found culpable.

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Abubakar emphasized the EFCC’s commitment to curbing illicit activities in Nigeria’s maritime sector, noting that such actions undermine the nation’s economy and pose significant threats to national security.