A man has been arrested in Rivers State for allegedly attempting to bride the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder with N700,000 to release his seized boat containing 80 drums of illegally refined diesel.
The wooden boat and products were intercepted during a recent operation by the agency.
The man who gave his name as Kenneth Sunday was said to have walked into the NNS Pathfinder barracks in Rumuolumeni area of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area with the money wrapped in a white plastic bag and demanded to see his boat.
He was then asked by a naval officer to identify and inspect the consignment among many others that were displayed at the naval jetty.
On his return from the jetty, the commander who waiting at the jetty, ordered his arrest and immediately paraded him and the money before journalists who had just returned with the naval crew from an operation against illegal oil refining.
The suspect, however, denied that he was at the Navy barracks to bribe the commander and claimed that the boat he inspected was not his, but that of a friend.
Meanwhile, the navy has discovered a community of illegal crude oil refiners in the state, and arrested several suspects.
The Navy on Saturday said it has made several arrests and seized more than $700,000 worth of illegally refined products in the nation’s oil producing areas as part of its Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (OPDDB).
OPDDB was launched on April 1 in response to a national outcry over massive looting of the nation’s oil resources.
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, in March, said the country had lost about $3.27 billion worth of oil to vandalism and theft in the past 14 months.
In a statement signed by spokesperson, Comodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the Navy said it was committed to enforcing a zero-tolerance for crude-oil theft and illegal bunkering in the oil-producing areas.
Read the Navy’s statement below:
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy launched Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO (OPDDB) on 1 April, 2022, to check increasing Crude Oil Theft (COT) and related acts of economic sabotage in the South-South geopolitical zone. In furtherance of the operation therefore, several arrests and seizures have been recorded.
On 5, April 2022, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) PATHFINDER at Port-Harcourt intercepted 9 huge (‘Cotonou’) wooden boats laden with unspecified quantity of illegally refined AGO at Andoki Bille and other areas within her responsibility. Additionally, Illegal Refining Sites (IRS) with cooking pots, tanks and reservoirs were discovered in Ketoru Creek. The Base also arrested 2 STARZ marine BOATS DOROH 1 and DOROH 2 for providing illegal escort services within the Bonny maritime area without proper approvals.
Also on 7 April 2022, NNS ABA intercepted and arrested MV ROYAL DIADEM which was laden with suspected illegally refined AGO of unspecified quantity at Bonny area. The vessel was unable to provide appropriate documentation at the point of loading, hence MV ROYAL DIADEM is presently undergoing investigation.
Similarly, NNS DELTA at Warri located an IRS around Opumami and Asukpo Creek laden with about 520,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil. Also, at Egwa creek in Warri area, an IRS observed to contain several metallic ovens and storage tanks was destroyed. In addition, on 11 April 2022, Forward Operation Base (FOB) FORMOSO acting on intelligence reports raided Fununu Fishing Camp in Akassa, Bayelsa State, a known but suspected hideout for illegal refining operators and sea robbers. In the encounter, a dugout pit containing about 1,258bbls of stolen crude oil was deactivated. In the same vein and on the same day, FOB BONNY destroyed a wooden laden boat with unspecified quantities of suspected crude oil at Nabil creek in Rivers State.
Furthermore, on 15 April 2022, NNS SOROH at Yenagoa discovered 2 stores and assembly points used by illegal bunkerers at Onimbu and Ayama communities subsequently leading to the discovery of 6,000 litres of AGO. The Base also arrested 3 trucks each laden with 35,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO. Equally, NNS DELTA at Asugbo Creek in Warri deactivated an IRS around Egwa creek in Warri laden with 250,000 litres of stolen crude and about 30,000 litres of illegally refined AGO. Meanwhile, in Akwa-Ibom State, NNS JUBILEE intercepted and arrested a wooden boat laden with about 100 drums and sacks of product estimated at about 33,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO.
These arrests and seizures from the ongoing OPDDB have denied oil thieves and criminals of about N200 million and $700,000 worth of products within a period of roughly two weeks. It is indicative of the Nigerian Navy’s resolve to ensure zero tolerance for COT, illegal bunkering and related economic crimes in the Nation’s maritime area and the South-South geopolitical zone in particular. Economic saboteurs and their sponsors are therefore warned to desist from these unpatriotic and criminal acts.
The Nigerian Navy and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have rejected the bill proposing to criminalise paying ransom to abductors, terrorists, and kidnappers to secure the release of hostages.
A representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral KO Egbuchulam, spoke at the National Assembly, Abuja during a public hearing on Terrorism Prevention Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, which seeks to outlaw payment of ransom to secure the release of captives.
The hearing was, which was held on Thursday, was organized by Senate committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; and Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes chaired by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.
Section 14 of the bill provides that, “anyone who transfers funds, makes payment or colludes with an abductor, kidnapper or terrorist to receive any ransom for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped is guilty of a felony and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years.”
Egbuchulam, however, said instead of outright criminalisation, negotiation or payment of ransom should be subjected to security vetting.
He said, “It is suggested that the bill could make the negotiation/proposed payment of ransom to kidnappers or terrorists to secure the release of hostages subject to the prior knowledge of ONSA/Armed Forces of Nigeria/Police for coordination.
“It is opined that subjecting such payment of ransom to security vetting and tracking is preferable to outright criminalization.”
Also, the EFCC, represented by the Director of Legal and Prosecution Department, Chile Okoroma, applauded most provisions of the bill but kicked against prosecution of somebody that paid ransom saying it should be narrowed down to those who received the ransom, not those that paid.
According to him, the bill on terrorism is well intended, but the issue of prosecuting those that paid ransom should be looked at, it should be narrowed to those who received payment for ransom.
But the Nigeria Correctional Service in its presentation agreed with all provisions of the bill including the prosecution of anyone that pays a ransom.
According to the service, “we agree with the proposed amendment to this bill”.
Senator Bamidele in his remarks sought to outlaw payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers, and terrorists for the release of someone who has been wrongly confined or imprisoned.
He said, ” The Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 202 The Bill was sponsored by Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi (Imo East Senatorial District).
” The bill, among other things, seeks to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013 in order to outlaw the payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers, and terrorists for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned, or kidnapped.”
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, has assured of infrastructure uplift in all Nigerian Navy formations across the country as part of efforts to enhance the welfare and boost the morale of officers and ratings.
Gambo gave the assurance while commissioning the new Naval Police Watch quarters and other completed projects at the Navy School of Armament Technology, Kachia in Kaduna State on Saturday.
The Naval boss said the challenges and welfare of the officers and ratings will be given due attention and priority to further boost their morale, stressing the need for personnel of the Nigerian Navy to ensure adequate maintenance of infrastructure provided for use in the institution.
The infrastructure inaugurated at the Nigerian Navy School of Armament Technology includes the Naval police Watch quarters to enhance prompt response to all forms of security threats within and around the school, water plant, and hostel accommodation among others.
Commissioning the projects, the Chief of Naval Staff, says the Nigerian Navy will continue to sustain infrastructural development in all its training institutions in order to actualise all training objectives.
“These developments align with my desire for all hands to be on deck to move the Nigerian Navy to the next level of development, ” he said during the event, saying that “the provision of requisite infrastructure, especially in our training institutions, would enhance the development of our human capacity, hence the relevance of today’s event”.
According to him, the Nigerian Navy will continue to provide the requisite infrastructure in all its training institutions to enhance the human capacity development of personnel.
The Naval Chief also explains that the inaugurated projects are in honour of the late Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ishaya Ibrahim, who contributed immensely to the growth of the service.
Vice Admiral Gambo equally charged the beneficiaries of the projects on the need to imbibe the culture of maintenance and shun negligence and carelessness.
“I, therefore, urge everyone on board to take ownership of these facilities to derive value from the money spent,” he said.
He stated that the cannabis and arrested suspects will be handed over to NDLEA and the stowaways will be handed over to the Nigerian Police Force and commanded the ships of the Western Fleet for their commitment and unalloyed loyalty in living up to the assigned responsibility of the Western Naval Command
He further added that the trend of foreigners from neighbouring countries infiltrating Nigeria’s maritime space with contraband is worrisome and the arrest will send a message to criminals of the Nigerian Navy’s resolve of zero-tolerance to illegalities.
The Nigerian Navy on Thursday paraded some alleged illicit drug traffickers, foreign rice smugglers and illegal dealers in oil bunkering.
Rear Admiral Bashir Mohammed, the Commander of the NNS BEECROFT, disclosed this while parading the suspects in Lagos.
He warned those he described as economic saboteurs to take their activities off Nigerian waterways.
“We arrested some suspected criminals involved in different kinds of crime. This includes illegal bunkering of petroleum products, movement of cannabis popularly known as Indian hemp, and smuggling of rice,” Mohammed said.
The 413 bags of foreign rice is estimated to be worth over N13 million, while the cannabis bagged in 261 large sacs, is estimated to be worth N100 million.
The suspected oil bunkers, the naval commander stated, were arrested with 125 drums each with 250 litres capacity of the Petroleum Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol.
Real Admiral Mohammed said the petroleum products estimated to take about three tankers could be dangerous to car engines.
“You have a large quantity of foreign rice smuggled into Nigeria using boats. We have over 400 bags. We are very serious about the rice issue because of the Federal Government’s economic policy on the non-importation of rice and we are to produce our own rice. So these are economic saboteurs.
“One of the most disturbing aspects of it is that most of them are foreigners from our neighbouring countries who come into this country and be involved in this heinous crime,” he added.
The naval officer promised to hand over the goods and suspects to the relevant agencies – the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for necessary action.
“NNS BEECROFT will not tolerate any act of crime in our water,” he warned. “Anyone involved will be brought to book.”
All the suspects paraded are said to be arrested during the yuletide.
In an earlier approval, 81 commanders were promoted to the rank of captain.
The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo on behalf of officers, ratings, and civilian staff of the Nigerian Navy, rejoiced with the newly-promoted senior officers and their families and charged them to rededicate themselves to their responsibilities and remain loyal to the nation and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.
President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated a locally-built Seaward Defence Boat (SDB) 111 in Lagos State.
The vessel, which was inaugurated on Thursday and built by NNS Oji, is the third of its series to be built by the Nigerian Navy, according to a statement by a presidential aide, Femi Adesina.
He quoted his principal as saying during the event that the new inductions to the Naval fleet, would increase the agency’s capacity in securing the nation’s maritime domain.
‘‘We should note that we are in a critical period where our country is faced with a serious decline in our revenue and the security challenges we are facing,” Buhari added, urging the personnel to make good use of the platforms as well as maintain professionalism.
‘‘The present realities, therefore, call for prudent resource management, innovativeness, accountability, and careful maintenance. I wish to reiterate that despite these challenges, our administration is very determined to ensure that the Navy is well supported to achieve its statutory responsibilities.
“Let me assure you that the Government will continue to support the ideals of the Nigerian Navy in the performance of its constitutional duties. God bless the Nigerian Navy, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Onward Together.”
Buhari, according to the statement, also lauded the Nigerian Navy for keeping a steady course in its local content development drive, also restated the Federal Government’s resolve to equip the agency.
‘‘I commend the business dependability of Messrs OCEA Shipyard – France, the builders of our Navy’s first-ever purpose-built Offshore Survey Vessel for a conclusive and successful execution of the contract.
“Local partners should share in this commendation for their efforts at local facilitation as outlined in the Government’s local content policy,’’ he said.
While acknowledging the efforts of the Nigerian Navy in securing Nigeria’s vast oil and gas industry, he said the Navy is a major contributor to the nation’s economic development.
‘‘Arrests of those involved in illegalities have yielded results as some pirates, illegal bunkering syndicates, pipeline vandals and other miscreants have been convicted during this year,” Buhari added.
‘‘Such successes were made possible through the enforcement of our new anti-piracy law on Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019.
“Furthermore, the provision of the new policy directives by the current administration of the Navy codified in such documents as the Nigerian Navy Strategic Plan 2021-2030; the Chief of the Naval Staff Strategic Directive 2021-5 and the Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy have given the Service credible guidelines and leverage for improved operational efficiency.”
A US nuclear submarine was damaged after hitting an unidentified object while operating underwater in Asia, the US Navy said Thursday.
The USS Connecticut, a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, “struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region,” the navy said in a statement.
It said there were no life-threatening injuries, but USNI News, a site specializing in navy news, reported that about a dozen sailors were hurt “with moderate to minor injuries.”
USNI News also said the submarine was operating in the South China Sea, where the US Navy has sought to challenge China’s disputed territorial claims on small islands, reefs and outcrops.
Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by four Southeast Asian countries as well as the self-ruled island of Taiwan.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Friday that Beijing was “extremely concerned” about the collision and accused the US of deliberately concealing the nature of the incident.
Washington should provide “detailed clarification” of the event, including information about what the submarine collided with, whether it caused nuclear leakage and whether it damaged the local marine environment, Zhao said at a regular press briefing.
He accused the US of long “disturbing the peace” in the South China Sea “under the banner of freedom of navigation.”
The US Navy said the extent of the damage is being examined and the incident investigated.
“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational,” it said.
USNI News said the vessel is now headed to the US base at Guam.
The Nigerian Navy has dissociated itself from the submissions made by commodore Jemila Malafa at a House Public Hearing on a bill to establish a commission against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
Commodore Malafa who represented the Navy at the hearing earlier on Tuesday alleged that Chadian soldiers engaged in the illicit trade of small arms.
According to her, Chadian soldiers sell guns for as low as $20 (N8,200) and this further endangers Nigeria’s security.
“Some of these countries that we have a border with have no armoury. They do not have armoury. So most of their arms that are being donated by — I don’t want to be specific — the developed countries in the name of assisting us to fight our problems — are compounding our problems in Nigeria because you find out that each average Chadian soldier has 20 to 30 arms underneath his bed,” she said.
“Since we are going to collaborate with ECOWAS and other countries that are donating such arms to these countries [African countries], I think we should insist that they should either enact laws to govern the handling of these arms and ammunition or build an armoury for these countries or else we will not see peace.”
But according to a statement signed by the Spokesman of the Navy, Commodore Dahun Suleiman, the Nigeria Navy disowned her claims, saying they do not represent the position of the Navy.
“During the hearing on this Bill, the representative of the Nigerian Navy (NN) duly presented the position of the Service on the proposed Act but went ahead to make some unauthorized, personal comments on the issue of transnational trafficking of small arms and light weapons,” the statement read in part.
“The Nigerian Navy appreciates the indelible contributions of our regional partners and neighbours in the fight against small arms and light weapons trafficking”.
The navy further stated that Nigeria maintains robust diplomatic security relationships with its neighbouring countries and commits to deepening the existing arraignments.
Watch the video of Commodore Jemila Malafa speaking House of Reps Public Hearing.
The Nigerian Navy has handed over two vessels – MT Bright Hope and MV Johanna 11 – to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
The two vessels were arrested by the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base Bonny with thirteen crew members onboard MT Bright Hope while twelve crew members were onboard MV Johanna 11 .
While performing the handing over exercise in Bonny, Rivers State, the commanding officer Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base Bonny, Captain Rufus Taye Oladejo explained that preliminary investigation has revealed that MT Bright Hope was arrested on the 10th of September 2021 along the Bonny waterways laden with about 1,371,256 litres of stolen crude oil and 62,431 litres of illegal refined AGO.
Captain Oladejo while giving a brief of the second vessel, MV Johanna 11 that was also arrested on the 14th of July 2021 conveying about 394 ,000 litres of product suspected to be AGO without the Nigerian Navy approval, also explained that activities of illegal refineries have reduced drastically due to the synergy with other sisters agencies in policing Nigeria’s waterways against oil theft and other marine crimes.
EFCC detective Arasah Shaks, who received the vessels and the suspects on behalf of the Port Harcourt Zonal command of the EFCC, said investigation will commence immediately and the suspects prosecuted if found guilty.
Detective Shaks gave kudos to the Nigerian Navy for their unrelenting efforts in seeing that the waterways are protected and safe.
A batch of naval personnel attached to the Operation Safe Haven of the Nigerian Army has returned to base from the theatre of conflict.
While receiving them in Lagos on Tuesday, the flag officer commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, said the personnel will undergo a trauma therapy session before reuniting with their family.
“Today as we are receiving this set another set took off to go to the frontline”, Gbassa told journalists while receiving the personnel.
“After receiving these personnel, we are going to keep them to undergo post-conflict stress management for a week, and then they will be released to reunite with their families for two weeks”.
He added that the personnel will resume work after reuniting with their families to face their national assignment.
Operation Safe Haven is a special military task force set up to maintain peace in Plateau State.