March 2, 2024

Navy arrests 11 suspects for attempting to construct illegal refinery in Rivers

The Nigeria Navy said it had handed over 11 artisans arrested on suspicion of planning to construct an illegal refinery to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Cdr. Sa’id Kabir, the Base Operations Officer of Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder Port Harcourt, handed the suspects over to Mr Monday Lawal of the NSCDC Command in Rivers.

He stated that the suspects were taken into custody when his men patrolled Krakrama Waterways to combat illegal oil bunkering in Rivers.

“The arrests were made in line with the strategic mandate on zero tolerance for crude oil and other petroleum products theft.

“NNS Pathfinder’s Tactical Response and Assault Squadron intercepted a boat with 11 persons on board during a patrol around Krakrama Creeks on Jan. 23.

“Ten metal plates, 14 angle iron and 20 gas cylinders were found carefully concealed in the wooden boat for the construction of illegal refining facility in the creeks.

“Investigation revealed that the suspects were conveying the materials to Bille, a riverine community with intent to construct an illegal refinery.

“It was also discovered that the suspects specialise in the construction of illegal refineries and were contracted by one Mr John.

“The base is making concerted efforts to arrest John and other suspects involved in this criminal enterprise,’’ Kabir said.

The Naval officer gave a marching order to oil thieves and criminals to relocate from Rivers as men of NNS Pathfinder were on a mission to rid the state of criminals causing disruption in the country’s oil business.

He said the Navy was aware of attempts by criminal elements to discredit the security outfit in order to have freedom to continue in their illicit operations.

“The base will not be deterred by the antics of enemies of the nation in the discharge of its constitutional duties.

“We assure the people of Rivers of our readiness to facilitate a peaceful and secure environment for the conduct of legitimate business activities.

“To this end, NNS Pathfinder requests the support of members of the public to provide us with useful information on suspicious criminal activities in their communities,’’ he said.

Lawal assured the Naval officer that 11 suspects and items, would be swiftly investigated, and the outcome made public.

He also assured that the suspects would be arraigned if found culpable of allegations made against them.