Nigerian Navy arrests fake officer, two others involved in oil theft in Rivers state

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The Nigerian Navy has reported the arrest of three individuals, one of whom was posing as a naval officer, for their involvement in illegal oil theft activities in Rivers State. The imposter is accused of providing fake documents to facilitate the illicit oil bunkering operations.

During a press briefing in Port Harcourt on Monday, Commodore Desmond Igbo, the Commander of NNS Pathfinder, announced the arrest of the suspects. Following their apprehension, they were subsequently handed over to the police.

The incident occurred on November 8, 2023, when the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base in Bonny Island intercepted a vessel named ‘MV Mother Gabrini’ that was involved in the illegal activities. The crew members presented forged NNS Pathfinder oil approval documents, which aroused suspicion and prompted the Navy Base to take immediate action.

Commodore Igbo stated that a thorough investigation led to the tracking and subsequent arrest of the suspects in different locations. This operation was carried out over the course of one week, relying heavily on intelligence gathered by the Nigerian Navy.

By apprehending these individuals, the Nigerian Navy has taken a significant step towards combating oil theft and illegal bunkering activities in Rivers State. The navy remains committed to protecting the country’s oil resources and ensuring that those involved in such criminal acts are brought to justice.

This successful operation serves as a warning to others involved in similar illegal activities that their actions will not go unchecked. The Nigerian Navy will continue to collaborate with relevant authorities to maintain peace and security in the region and safeguard Nigeria’s valuable oil resources.

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Commodore Desmond Igbo announced that among the individuals who were apprehended, one was an imposter who had been impersonating naval personnel in order to carry out illicit escort and security operations at events within Rivers State. According to Commodore Igbo, two camouflage uniforms and other military equipment were discovered at the imposter’s residence.

Commodore Igbo emphasized that NNS Pathfinder has been diligently working to combat crude oil theft and illegal bunkering, in line with the strategic directive of the Chief of the Naval Staff. He acknowledged that the base’s sustained efforts have restricted the freedom of action for criminal elements involved in these activities. Consequently, these criminal elements have resorted to a new tactic of producing counterfeit documents to facilitate their illegal bunkering operations.

The Commander disclosed that three suspects were arrested for orchestrating a fraudulent oil approval for the vessel named MV Mother Gabrini. On November 8, 2033, FOB Bonny apprehended the vessel on suspicion of engaging in illegal bunkering activities. During the initial investigation, the vessel’s crew presented a forged oil approval from NNS Pathfinder. In response, the base swiftly initiated action to apprehend those responsible for forging the oil approval document.

The efforts of NNS Pathfinder in combating crude oil theft and illegal bunkering are commendable. By apprehending an imposter and exposing the use of forged documents, the base has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to maintaining security and integrity in the maritime domain.

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The recovery of military gear further highlights the vigilance and effectiveness of NNS Pathfinder in safeguarding national resources and combating criminal activities within Rivers State. The dedication and professionalism displayed by Commodore Desmond Igbo and his team serve as a testament to the Nigerian Navy’s resolve to protect its territorial waters and uphold maritime security.

“These three suspects were arrested for facilitating a fake oil approval for MV Mother Gabrini. The vessel was arrested on 8th November, 20233 for suspected illegal bunkering activities by FOB Bonny.

“During the preliminary investigation, the crew presented a fake NNS Pathfinder oil approval. Accordingly, the Base sprang into action to apprehend the persons involved in forging the Base oil approval.”

Continuing, he said, “The suspects before were trailed and arrested in different locations after a one-week sustained intelligence-led operation.

“It is pertinent to state that one of the suspects, Mr Williams Nweale is also an impostor. He impersonates naval personnel to conduct illegal escort and security in events within Rivers State. Two Camouflage uniforms and other military uniform items were recovered from his house.”

Igbo warns oil thieves and other criminals within the State to change their ways, saying the Base will stop at nothing to ensure that they are arrested and prosecuted.

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He also advised residents to continue to support the Base by providing useful information about criminal activities around them.

Speaking after receiving the suspects, the Divisional Police Officer of Rumuelumini Division, CSP Olufunke Opayemi, assured that he will continue the investigation, saying upon conclusion the suspects will be charged in court.

9News Nigeria

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