Operatives of the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have commenced investigations into the activities of eight suspected oil thieves in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
This was disclosed in a statement on the official X handle of EFCC on Thursday.
According to the statement, the investigation follows the handover of the oil thieves to the EFCC by the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, Akiama Road, Bonny Island, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, January 10.
The Naval Hand-Over Officer, Lieutenant Commander G.Y Gwaza, said the suspected oil thieves were handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution.
The statement read, “According to the Navy, the vessel, MV Cabrini, and her eight crew members were arrested during an operation on Wednesday, November 8, 2023. They were arrested with an unquantified amount of illegally acquired Automotive Gas Oil along Bonny Channel.
“The suspects are Tyson Saidi, Emmanuel Memedo, Bamidele Owoeye, Sunday Okenwa, Sanusi Adeola, Kessen Friday, Miebaka Kienka, and Emmanuel Adewole.”
The statement added that an official of the EFCC, Itoro Levi, who received the suspects, assured the Navy that thorough and professional investigations would be carried out.
It was reported that security agencies are stepping up fights against oil theft in the country following an ultimatum given to the service chiefs in June 2023 by President Bola Tinubu.
The 6 Division, Nigerian Army, also said it destroyed 233 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region, while 112 suspects were arrested in 2023.
The Niger Delta Development Commission, on Wednesday, appealed to traditional rulers in the oil-rich region to help the Federal Government tackle oil theft.
It also asked the monarchs to collaborate with security agencies to curb pipeline vandalism.