By Mitchelle Uzorka
The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo reported that the Nigerian Navy arrested 117 suspects and seized six vessels over alleged theft of petroleum products.
Gambo made the report when he spoke at the 10th SECUREX West Africa, an international security exhibition held at the Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, where he delivered a keynote paper titled “Protecting Critical National Infrastructure: Tackling Maritime Crimes; Protecting Nigeria’s Ports.”
Gambo said the arrests and seizures were made in the last five weeks by operatives deployed for Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (stop the thief), a reinvigorated battle against crude oil thieves, illegal refiners and pipeline saboteurs.
According to him, 51 illegal refining sites were deactivated, 563 metal storage tanks crushed and 341 dug out pits have been destroyed within the same period.
He added that the economic saboteurs were denied over 17,793,432 litres of crude oil, 5,490,670 litres of illegally refined AGO, and 129,000 litres of DPK, all valued at over N10.7 billion.
He said, “Despite the Nigerian Navy’s effort at ensuring that maritime crimes are reduced, new challenges continue to unfold due to the dynamic nature of criminals. The intensity and trans-national nature of maritime crimes within the region requires a more diligent record and data capturing identity of perpetrators.