Seven suspected crude oil pipeline vandals and 520 drums of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil, also known as diesel, were handed over to the Cross River State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps by the Nigerian Navy on Saturday in Calabar.
The navy apprehended the suspects while they were on their way to Calabar, in a large wooden boat.
The illegally refined diesel, which was estimated to be about 130,000 litres, was valued at N24m.
Commodore Julius Nwagu, the Commander of NNS Victory, stated that they were intercepted along the Calabar channel.
He said the boat contained 520 drums (250 litres each) of suspected illegally refined diesel.
The navy commander, who said the arrest was made on March 20, 2018, added, “My men on patrol intercepted a wooden boat laden with 520 drums of suspected illegally refined AGO and when I was informed, I asked them to arrest the boat and bring it to my base.
“That was done and the following day, we commenced offloading and I am here to hand over the drums to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. Seven men were arrested with the products. We are handing over everything.
“The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, gave me directives and the directives were clear on issues of illegalities and I want to assure you that I will not blink until perpetrators of heinous sabotage to our national economy are brought to book.
“On investigation, we found that these products came from Rivers State and the final destination was Calabar before they ran into my security patrol boats.”
Receiving the suspects and the product, the state Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr. Haliru Usman, promised to prosecute the suspects.
“The navy is successfully fighting illegality and this is a good synergy between the Nigerian Navy and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. I am here to receive the items and suspects who are to be prosecuted.
“I am promising the Navy that at each level we are during the prosecution, we will furnish them with information, so that, at least, they know how we are going. This is a lesson and others involved in such illegalities should desist,” he said.