Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder in Port Harcourt have confiscated two wooden boats used to convey about 100,000 litres of substance suspected to be stolen diesel worth N20.4m.
Base Operations Officer of NNS Pathfinder, Cdr. Ugochukwu Ajulu, who disclosed this on Sunday while speaking with journalists in Port Harcourt, stated that three suspects were arrested on board one of the wooden boats seized in Rivers State.
Ajulu said the boats were impounded during a routine patrol of the creeks and waterways by troops in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
He said, “On March 31, our troops on routine patrol impounded two wooden boats carrying suspected illegally refined diesel in quantity of about 100,000 litres.
“The first wooden boat transporting about 60 drums fully loaded with suspected stolen diesel was impounded along Bakana waterways with three suspects onboard.
“The second boat which had over 100 drums laden with illegally refined diesel was seized while it anchored at Aiteo jetty near Abonema. About 5,000 litres of diesel was also stored in a compartment on the boat.”
The Base Operations Officer stated that the Navy could not arrest any suspect from the second boat, adding that members of the crew took to their heels on sighting the advancing gunboats.
Ajulu disclosed that investigation was ongoing to find out the source and supply chain of the products, even as he stated that the suspects would be handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for further investigation and prosecution.
He appealed to the public not to hesitate to provide useful information that would assist the Nigerian Navy to arrest illegal oil bunkerers, sea pirates and vandals.
Speaking with newsmen, one of the suspects identified as Timothy Williamson confessed to the crime and pleaded for forgiveness.
Williamson claimed he was introduced to the illicit business by one woman popularly known as Mama.
He said, “We supply the product to our madam in the city who in turn supplies the product to Peace Oil located at Elechi Beach area of Port Harcourt.
“Please forgive me as I only indulged myself in this business because I have no job and money to feed myself and cater for my family.”