The Nigerian Navy in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State has arrested nine men for alleged oil bunkering. The Naval Base Operation Officer, Commander Shehu Taisu who confirmed the arrest said the suspects were arrested with explosive devices which they used to blow up oil installations in the creeks of Warri.
Taisu who identified the suspects as Doughe Kelly, Godspardon Favour, Omorh Paul, John Okporo, Ben Okpor, Coker Felix, Sabbath Enezigha, Ken Ose and Adeoye Billy, said that on searching the boat, officers and men of the navy base found detonating cords, explosive powder, cutlasses, batteries and bale of red and white materials, but that when the suspects were interrogated, they claimed they knew nothing about the boat.
“We have arrested several suspected oil thieves and handed them over to the police, especially one Sabbath, who was arrested last Friday by our patrol team at an undisclosed location in Warri South West Council Area.
“Our patrol team sighted them at a beach and their behavior was suspicious. Consequently, our men moved towards them and as they saw our men, they took off, except Sabbath who was nabbed.”
It was gathered that in the last three weeks, over 23 suspected oil thieves had been arrested by the navy officers and handed over to the police in Warri for further prosecution. Oil bunkering has become one of the major challenges faced by the federal government in the maritime industry. According to the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) the country losses an estimated $5 billion (N810billion) yearly to bunkering.
According to statistics made available by the Corporate Planning and Strategy of Nigeria National petroleum Corporation (NNPC), showed that in 2010, 2011, and 2012, Nigeria lost 965,069mb, 4,213,468mb and 1,236,515mb respectively from Escravos, Warri line alone.
In Warri-Kaduna pipeline, the country lost 720,748mb for 2010, 644,193mb for 2011 and 752,598mb for 2012; on the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)/Warri pipeline it had 34,644mb, 153,879mb, and 88,989mb for the years respectively while the Bonny /Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) line had 595,820mb, 1,379,770mb and 967,522mb as well for 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Recall that three persons working for an oil servicing arm were reportedly killed on Sunday, March 27 in Olugboboro, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, following a pipeline explosion. According to reports, the victims were said to be clamping a leaking pipeline owned by Nigerian Agip Oil Company NAOC when tragedy struck. It was gathered that basic safety measures might not have been observed during the operation, which involved clamping of the leaking crude oil.