By PHILIP NWOSU
Nigerian Navy operatives in Lagos has arrested 30 foreign nationals, among whom are four Pakistanis and 26 Beninoise for allegedly stealing petroleum products in the Niger Delta.
Nigerian Navy said it apprehended the suspects for stealing petroleum products from the country’s oil refineries in the Niger Delta and for other malpractices within the country’s water ways.
The Navy said that the Beninoise and the Pakistanis were running a huge oil cartel going around within the country to steal fuel and other petroleum products and move the consignment to Benin Republic where they are sold.
While parading the suspects before handing them over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Commodore Maurice Eno said the Beninoise were arrested in batches and at different crime scenes.
For instance, he said, six Beninoises were arrested on September 9, within the country’s water ways transporting 140 drums apparently used to scoop oil from Nigeria and sale in Benin Republic.
Commodore Eno who was represented by the Executive Officer of the NNS BEECROFT, Navy Captain Tajudeen Osoba said the operatives from the command also recovered the $3,300 from the suspected oil thieves.
Before the Beninoises were arrested, the operatives from the NNS BEECROFT, it was learnt, also arrested another vessel the MV GLENNSTAR with 11 crew members and laden with 800 metric tones of Automotive Gas Oil.
While explaining the arrest of the Pakistani, the Beecroft Commander said they were arrested operating a Merchant Tanker (MT Matrix) with 17 crew members among whom were 13 Nigerians allegedly assisting them to transport 10 drums of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
He said that two other persons who were arrested on September 26, with some quantity of AGO have also confessed to the crime, explaining that they bought the product from an unnamed source.