Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT have uncovered 3,181 25 litre kegs laden with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) suspected to have been vandalised from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) pipelines at Akaraba Island, Lagos Island
The kegs, which were discovered during a raid of the Island by naval operatives on July 4, were said to have been concealed in makeshift structures built about 200 metres away from Inegbe Resort.
Leading reporters to the Island where the kegs were handed over to the NNPC, Commander NNS BEECROFT Commodore Ibrahim Shettima said the products were valued at about N11.5 million.
He said: “On Thursday, July 4, at about 4pm, patrol team deployed in Atlas Cove Island conducted raids at Akaraba area based on available intelligence. The team discovered 3,181 of 25 litres jerry cans with products suspected to be PMS valued at about N11,500,000.
“It was further discovered that the products were sourced from several vandalised points on the NNPC pipeline on the Atlas Cove Island. The discovery of such large quantity of PMS is as a result of the navy’s aggressive patrols which have denied them the freedom of action.
“The Nigerian Navy under the leadership of the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas is determined to rid our waterways of all forms of criminality. The NNS BEECROFT is therefore committed to assisting NNPC and other agencies of government in dealing with the issue of pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.
“The Nigerian Navy uses this medium to warn pipeline vandals/thieves and other criminal elements, particularly in our maritime environment to desist from nefarious activities and pursue lawful means of livelihood. Otherwise, they will surely be brought to justice.
“I advise well-meaning citizens to dissociate from illegality and give useful information to the Nigerian Navy or other security agencies on all forms of criminalities going on in their areas. The Nigerian Navy is ever focused and would continue to hunt these criminal elements and enemies of the nation.”
Commodore Shettima said the Navy would await the evacuation of the products by NNPC within a time frame before destroying illegal structures in the Island.
He said the kegs would have been destroyed and set ablaze if not that the area had combustible materials.
“We have about 1,000 jerry cans of the PMS here in Takwa Bay evacuated from Akaraba, while the ones you saw earlier are 2,181. The total is 3,181. At first, our menNavy uncovers over N11m worth of PMS on Lagos Island thought it was something they could evacuate but you have seen the difficulty of the terrain and the quantity of kegs.
“We have about nine vehicles here recovered from criminals. The last time we came here, there were about four vehicles now the number has increased.
“These are the kinds of challenges we face here but we are not relenting in our efforts to do away with this act of criminality.
“It is expected that when we hand over, the NNPC will evacuate all the products to their location because the navy has to clear the whole area of illegal structures. They will have to give me a specific date that they would have completely evacuated the products,” he said.
The Nation observed that the makeshift structures were located at places where boats or canoes could anchor and load with ease for transportation. It was also observed that the locations of the structures were the same as those destroyed in 2015 and 2016 by the Nigerian Navy during operations to dislodge pipeline vandals and militants in the area.
At the handing over was Commandant NSCDC Commandant Tajudeen Balogun, representatives of NNPC pipeline maintenance contractor, OilServe Limited and private security guards working for the contractor Pentagon.
There was, however, mild drama on the island as officials of the NNPC, who were to receive the recovered kegs, initially refused to turn up. But with the Navy’s insistence to handover the products in line with the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure (HSOP), the Manager Atlas Cove Terminal of the NNPC Rafiu Malik eventually came out and signed for them.