Twenty-five suspected oil thieves handed over to the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Bonny Island, Rivers State, are being quizzed for their alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering.
The suspects were handed over to the EFCC, alongside two Vessels: MT Bright Hope and MV Johanna II at Bonny Island, Rivers State.
Twelve (12) of the suspects were arrested on board MV Johanna II on July 14, 2021 around IMA Oil Terminal, Bonny Island, while the remaining thirteen (13) suspects were arrested on board MT Bright Hope on September 10, 2021 offshore Bonny Island. MV was flying a Togolese flag and one of the suspects arrested with the vessel is a Ghanaian
The suspects are: Kenneth Ekpo and Moses Baron: captains of the two vessels. Others are: Lucky Onome; Edmund Asari Joseph; Asuquo Okon; Itoro Effiong; Sunday Obonla; Melcm Agobiam; Imoh Timothy; Godfriend Bartheolomew, Promise Emmanuel and Patrick Oliseneku.
The rest are: Matthew Osoro; Unyime Ekanem; Eddy Apeli; Gift Elenei; Benimo Paebi; Eddy Uhomanbhi; Ahmmed Onikosi; Ebibotei Mesihach; Victor Abedingo; Isaac Awa, Innocent Tymon, Obi David and Jude Ogbejele
Naval Handing Over Officer, Captain R. T. Oladejo said the suspects and vessels were arrested by the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Gondola in an anti-bunkering operation. According to him, MT Bright Hope was loaded with 1,371,256 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 62,431 litres of suspected illegally-refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO). MT Johanna, on the other hand, was loaded with 394,00 litres of product suspected to be AGO.
“Today, we are handing over the vessels and twenty five crew members to the EFCC for proper investigation”, he said.
Assistant Superintendent of the EFCC, ASE Arasah Shaka took over the suspects and the vessels on behalf of the EFCC. He commended the Navy for its synergy with the EFCC and tireless efforts and commitment towards ridding the country of illegal oil activities.
He also assured that further investigations would be done and the culpable suspects charged to court accordingly