The Navy said yesterday that it had arrested nine foreign nationals alongside two boats and seven trucks, for alleged stolen Petrol Motor Spirit (PMS), near Atlas Cove in Lagos.
The Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima, who briefed reporters in Apapa, Lagos, said the arrest happened between May 10 and 12 at Atlas Cove Island and Nigeria- Benin Republic border.
He said: “On May 10 at about 2am, a patrol team posted to the Atlas Cove Island discovered two trucks containing about 200 x 25 litre plastic cans around Akaraba area on the Atlas Cove Island.
“In another incident on the same day, at about 5am, the patrol team discovered five trucks conveying about 70 x 25 litre plastic cans around Abule Glass area on the Atlas Cove Island.
“It is believed that the vehicles were kept in preparation for the movement of stolen product from the NNPC pipelines.”
The commander added that two boats and foreign nationals were also arrested by naval men on routine patrol along the Nigeria-Benin border.
“On May 12 around 6pm, a naval boat on routine patrol along Nigeria-Benin Republic border intercepted two boats conveying a total of 85 x 250 litre drums and another 150 X 25 litre plastic cans suspected to be containing Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). This is believed to have been stolen from NNPC pipeline laid on the Atlas Cove Island.
“As at the time of the interception, the two boats had on board nine crew members comprising one Ghanaian and eight Beninoise.
Shettima said the Atlas Cove Island accommodated an NNPC storage facility, which was operated and managed by the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC.
“The facility is designed as a transit depot to supply refined product to other NNPC depots at Mosimi, Ore, Ibadan and Shagamu. Over time, the facility is being threatened by the activities of pipeline vandals and in an effort to curb this ugly trend, the base heightened patrols on the island and its waterfront,” he said.
He said the act of illegal trading in petroleum product around the Atlas Cove Island was unfortunate, adding that most of the illegalities were perpetrated with the assistance of some unpatriotic Nigerians.
“It is worthy of note that the Navy under the leadership of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, is determined to rid our waterways and its connected creeks of all forms of criminality. NNS BEECROFT is, therefore, committed to assisting the NNPC to deal with petroleum product theft.
“The Navy, therefore, uses this medium to warn oil thieves and other criminals, particularly in our maritime environment, to desist from these nefarious activities and pursue lawful means of livelihood,” he said.