The Nigerian Navy in Port Harcourt has arrested 19 suspects with 168 drums of Desiel popularly known as AGO and 5 canoe boats on Bakana Rivers in the Degena Local Government area of Rivers State.
The arrest was made during a tour of the creeks with journalists from Abuja and Lagos led by the Director Navy information, Commodore Sulaiman Dahun.
Addressing journalists, The base Operation Officer NNS Pathfinder Commander Murtala Rogo expressed dismay that the criminals instead of engaging in lawful ventures preferred to build illegal refineries, steal crude oil or destroy the pipelines.
Commander Rogo maintained that the suspects would be investigated and if found culpable face prosecution.
Commander Rogo stressed that the base has arrested 8 vessels 18 barges 42 wooden boats 38 suspects, destroyed 70 illegal refineries sites with several storage tanks and dug out pits laden with over 4,300 Metric tonnes of suspected stolen crude as well as 2,191 Metric tonnes of illegally refined AGO in 2019.
One of the suspects Mrs Justina Patani who claimed to be a widow and mother of two said she needed money to feed her family and that was the first time.
Another suspect 32-year-old boat driver Joshua Ayi who appealed to the government to tender justice with mercy said he lost his boat to robbers and his wife just had a baby.
Another 18-year-old Ayibokora Emmanuel claimed he needed money to pay his school fees since he lost his parents, while Emeka Ndunka said he was facing difficulties.
Personnel of The Nigeria Navy have displayed commitment in the fight against illegal oil bunkering pipeline vandalism and illegal refineries to check the menace and assist in boosting the nation’s economy.