by THEOPHILUS ONOJEGHEN
Two suspected oil thieves have been arrested by men of the Nigerian Navy along the creeks of Forcados in Delta State, just as the authority warned criminals against sabotaging the nation’s oil revenue sources.
Parading the two suspects at the Warri Base of the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Delta at the weekend, Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, Rear Adm. Stanley Ogoigbe, said they were arrested during attempt to open an abandoned oil well with their equipment.
Ogoigbe disclosed that upon interrogation, the two suspects confessed to the crime and warned criminals to stay off the waterways or face the full weight of the law as it would not condone any form of criminality in its area of command.
He gave the names of the suspects as Braye Ogoba and Ikure Benjamin, disclosing that investigations were already on to arrest their sponsors.
Ogoigbe noted: “Our collaboration with the local authorities (Vigilante) is yielding fruits as we have apprehended two crude oil thieves. Their plan was nipped in the bud; they were caught by the vigilante we are working with while attempting to open an oil well in Forcados.
“They were apprehended with their equipment and they confessed to it during interrogation and pleaded for mercy. As soon as we conclude investigation, we will hand them over to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps for onward interrogation.”
At the briefing, FOC also handed over two Portuguese-speaking foreigners to men of the Nigerian Immigration Service in Warri. He added that Jose Antonio and Molato Bikate were both from Sao Tome and Principe and were intercepted recently at Agbani Oil Field.
Ogoigbe flanked by the commanding officer, Nigerian Navy Ship, Commodore Aliyu Sule, explained that the foreigners missed their route into Nigerian coast.
Answering questions from newsmen, he added that his men in collaboration with the Nigerian Army and State Security Services intercepted a self-propelled barge, MV Chopin off Forcados in the first week of May, noting that he had directed officials of the NN PC to ascertain the contents before handing over to the relevant authority.
Adm. Ogoigbe said the two crew on board were currently under the custody of the 3rd Battalion, Warri, awaiting further questioning.
“We want to go after the major perpetrators who are currently at large and we will get them. No form of illegalities will be tolerated in the Central Naval Command, so criminals should stay off my area of responsibility,’’ he added.
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