Twenty-four persons suspected to be involved in bunkering have been arrested in the riverine area of Ondo State.
The suspects who were nabbed by the Forward Operating Base, FOB, of the Nigerian Navy in Igbokoda, Ilaje Local Government Area of the state were caught with over 100,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, commonly known as diesel.
DAILY POST gathered that the operatives of the Nigerian Navy intercepted six boats used to transport the product along Ondo/Lagos coastal axis.
Parading the suspects as well as the intercepted boats at the Naval Base in Igbokoda, the Commanding Officer of the Base, Captain Shaibu Mohammed Ahmed, said the six boats were carrying illegally refined crude oil, owned by suspects involved in bunkering.
According to the Commanding Officer, one of the intercepted boats contains 150 drums of 250 litres of refined diesel while another wooden boat contained 16 tanks of about 4,500 litres of the product.
Captain Shuaib added that the remaining boats which were also intercepted by his men were full of empty drums.
While attributing the arrest to the Nigerian Navy’s resolve to curb criminal activities in Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas of the state, the Commanding Officer disclosed that continuous surveillance on the creeks and coastal areas had been instituted.
He maintained that the move will effectively curb illegal oil bunkering, sea piracy, kidnapping and other criminal activities within the costal areas of the state.
He said “This effort yielded positive result, with the latest operation carried out along the Ondo/Lagos coastal axis.”
Meanwhile, some of the suspects said that their boats were hired by some persons to transport the product, while some admitted their involvement in the illegal business.
The Commanding Officer, however, sought meaningful information from residents, that could lead to curbing all forms of economic sabotage in the area as he emphasized that the Forward Operating Base will continue to work in line with its mandate of ensuring a secured maritime environment.