A suspicious oil vessel off-loading products suspected to be Automated Gas Oil (AGO) along Eagle Island in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has been arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The arrest made on Thursday December 1, was made possible by high-level intelligence and surveillance by the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, the agency’s spokesman said.
Men and officers of the NNS Pathfinder, Naval Base, Port Harcourt also offered professional support and facilitation of the operation.
The vessel: H.W. BECHMAN, an oil tanker, with Registration Number: 4014030, was caught off-loading products into a Tank Farm housed in the premises of NEPAS Limited in the Iwofe area of Port Harcourt. It was the first- ever oil vessel interception made by the EFCC since its reception.
Preliminary investigations by the EFCC showed that the oil vessel carried products loaded in twelve( 12) compartments. Seven of the compartments had already been offloaded into the Tank Farm at the point of arrest. Products were still found in five other compartments.
The products were suspected to have been sourced from the proceeds of pipeline vandalisation in the creeks of the Niger Delta. Operators of the vessel escaped on sighting the EFCC operatives, escaped in a speed boat but a quick response and support by men of the NNS Pathfinder ensured that the oil vessel was not moved.
Several documents were recovered from the vessel and further investigations In the case, are on- going, Uwujaren said.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has sought the support of the Nigerian Navy (NN) in the fight against corruption in the country.
The Acting Chairman of the commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, made the request when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Naval Staff, (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja.
Magu said that the visit was essentially to mobilise everybody in the fight against corruption, adding that everybody was a stakeholder in what the commission was doing.
“We are trying to bring everybody on board to join the fight against corruption.
“We also want to seek the support of the NN in our joint operations in several areas, and I am also aware that a lot is being done to ensure corruption-free Navy,’’ the acting chairman said.
Receiving the EFCC chairman, the CNS commended the commission for its efforts at trying to rid the country of any form of corrupt practices, especially in public organisations.
Ibas also promised to give the necessary support to the commission to enable it to succeed in its quest to tackle corruption headlong.
“The NN knows its position in the fight against corruption, as officers and men are quite aware of the consequences.