The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Bonny Island, Rivers State, has turned over twenty-five suspected oil thieves to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Port Harcourt Zonal Command, for questioning in connection with illicit oil bunkering.
The suspects were handed over to the EFCC, alongside two Vessels: MT Bright Hope and MV Johanna II on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at Bonny Island, Rivers State.
On July 14, 2021, twelve (12) individuals were apprehended on board the MV Johanna II near the IMA Oil Terminal in Bonny Island, while the remaining thirteen (13) suspects were apprehended on board the MT Bright Hope off the coast of Bonny Island on September 10, 2021. The MV was sailing under a Togolese flag, and one of the people apprehended on board was 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.
The suspects and vessels were apprehended by the Nigerian Navy Ship NNS Gondola in an anti-bunkering operation, according to Naval Handing Over Officer Captain R. T. Oladejo. MT Bright Hope was allegedly loaded with 1,371,256 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 62,431 litres of suspected illegally processed Automotive Gas Oil, according to him ( AGO). The MT Johanna, on the other hand, was filled with 394,00 litres of AGO-like substance.
“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, took over the suspects and vessels on behalf of the EFCC. He praised the Navy’s collaboration with the EFCC, as well as its unwavering efforts and determination to cleanse the country of illegal oil activities. He also promised that more investigations would be conducted and that the guilty persons would be brought to justice.