Nigerian Navy arrests five Tantita employees over oil theft attempt

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Operatives of Nigerian Navy NNS Beecroft’s patrol team, stationed at Forward Operations Base (FOB), Lekki, have foiled an attempted oil theft operation on the waterways in Itolu community, Lekki, in Lagos State.

Parading five arrested suspects at NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos, yesterday, the commander, Commodore Kolawale Oguntuga, said the incident occurred in the early hours of August 29, when local youths reported gunshots in the vicinity of the community.

According to him, after receiving the information, naval patrol teams immediately launched a response operation.

 “Upon arrival at the scene, the naval team met four individuals dressed in black polo shirts with TANTITA inscribed on the back, trying to recover a dismantled outboard engine from a local.

“The team recovered the engine and arrested four Tantita employees.

“It was after their arrest that the patrol team realised that the four individuals were part of a movement of a large wooden boat with two fibre boats.

“The four individuals beckoned on the two fibre boats to approach them, but when they noticed NN patrol teams, the boats altered courses, fled and abandoned the large wooden boat laden with 11 x 1000L Geepee tanks with product suspected to be stolen crude oil.

“The suspects are identified as Asonja Goddey, ‘m’, 28, Obajimi Oluwaseyifunmi, ‘m’, 38, Awoowo Aribo, ‘m’, 35, and Oluwadaisi Balogun, ’m’, 40, all from Igbokoda in Ondo State.”

The commandant added: “The owner of the boat they were trying to forcibly employ, Ishola Ojubuyi , ‘m’, 42, was also taken into custody.

Suspects of the oil theft

“The Navy has initiated an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident, particularly the possession of firearms used in the community, economic sabotage, how the product came from Ondo State to Lagos State as well as attempting to steal a boat engine from the locals.

“One Owoyele Omotuyi, who was identified as a Tantita staff member, came to secure release of the four arrested suspects, claiming they are employees of Tantita Security Service Nigeria Limited.

“All suspects along with the confiscated exhibits, would be handed over to appropriate agencies for further necessary action and prosecution.

“The Nigerian Navy under the watch of Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, remains resolute towards ensuring the maritime environment is conducive for legitimate businesses necessary for economic prosperity of the nation,” Oguntuga, said.

But speaking to newsmen, Omotuyi claimed that they were on a trail of a wooden boat loaded with illegal crude oil at the sea level around Owoye in Ilaje, with officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Ondo State Command, when his men were intercepted by the Navy.

He, however, could not explain why the officers escaped on sighting the naval patrol team.

Omotuyi further claimed that officials of civil defence accompanying his team ran away to avoid conflict and casualty.

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