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EFCC Arrest, Probes 14 Suspected Oil Thieves In Port Harcourt

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Port Harcourt Zonal Command has commenced an investigation into 14 individuals suspected of oil theft, in addition to a Motor Fishing Trawler named Hawwau Tanko.

Naija News understands that the suspects were initially arrested by the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, Fob, Formoso, Brass, Bayelsa State, and subsequently handed to the anti-graft agency.

The arrests were made by the detachment of 5 BN Nigerian Army on February 27, 2024, near Fish Town Rivers, Southern Ijaw Bayelsa State, while aboard the Motor Fishing Trawler, Hawwau Tanko, which was carrying approximately 10,000 liters of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).

Navy Captain Murtala Aminu Rogo, the Commanding officer of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Formoso, has revealed that the Motor Fishing Trawler (MFT) Hawwau Tanko was apprehended on February 27, 2024, in the Fish Town Rivers of Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa State. The vessel was suspected of being involved in illegal bunkering.

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In a statement delivered by Navy Commander M. A Gada, Captain Rogo emphasized that the Nigerian Navy remains steadfast in its commitment to uphold and enforce all maritime laws. Their objective is to combat crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering, and other criminal activities within the Nigerian maritime domain.

The suspects include: Kolapo Gafar, the captain of the vessel, Monday Aresonor, Rasheed Rafiu, Kubi E. Wowo, Emmanuel Odey, Kolapo Abdullahi, Sunday Obasan, Kolapo Wasiu, Ilojiole Emeka, Owoseni Ehuwa, John Olowokere, Chima Edwin,  John Akpan and Ijoade Tayo.

According to him, “the activity of the 14 suspected oil thieves and MFT Hawwau Tanko is an act of economic sabotage which the Nigerian Navy has sworn not to condone”.

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The Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Port Harcourt Command, Assistant Commander of the EFCC, ACE 1, Ahmed Muhammed Ghali, has given his assurance to the Navy and the general public that the suspects and the exhibits will undergo further investigation and potential prosecution.

Naija News reports that this information was revealed by Assistant Superintendent of the EFCC, ASE 1 Salim Abubakar Sadiq, who accepted the suspects and the vessel on behalf of the EFCC.

He also commended the Navy for their cooperation with the EFCC and the strong working relationship that both agencies have maintained throughout the years.

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“We will do everything within our powers to ensure that the activities of illegal oil bunkering are completely brought to the barest minimum and that the oil thieves are brought to face the wrath of the law,” he said.

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