The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, has seized 501 drums of illegal Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) worth about N35 million from eight suspects in the state.
Speaking on Monday in Ibaka during the hand-over of the suspects, drums of AGO, wooden boat and outboard engines to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Acting Commanding Officer, FOB, Captain Reginald Adoki said from their findings, the products contained inside the boat is suspected to be illegally refined AGO (diesel).
Adoki explained that based on intelligence reports in the early hours of April 5, 2019, they intercepted the suspects conveying the boat load of AGO brought in from Oyorokoto in Rivers State along the Calabar channel leading to Oron river with three Yamaha outboard engines.
He said the activity of the suspects showed a clear case of economic sabotage of which the navy is committed to rid the area of, adding that the handover to the EFCC is a sign of their confidence in the commission.
His words, “From findings, the products contained inside the boat are suspected to be illegally refined AGO (diesel). The 501 drums of this AGO is about 300 litres sized drum which gives you about 150,000 litres of AGO which estimated market value will be put at about N25 to N35 million.
“We have strong evidence that there was a case of converging illegally refined AGO which have definitely been from broken pipes by way of crude oil theft because you need crude oil to refine to be able to get the illegal AGO. This is a clear case of economic sabotage.”
Receiving the drums of AGO, eight suspects and other items from the Navy, Uyo Zonal Head of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdukarim Chukkoh represented by Mr Alex Ebbah, Chief Superintendent of Police, EFCC said, “I want to sincerely on behalf of the EFCC and my Chairman, thank the effort of the Nigerian Navy for this noble job.
“We really assure you we will do our best to ensure that for every crime of this nature, the suspects are brought to book and we will also give you feedback,” he noted.
One of the suspects, Victor Umana from Mbo Local Government Area, said the urge to better his lot financially led him into taking up the illegal job.
He said he used to load fish and crayfish from the beachside for a pittance, adding that he was offered N15,000 to bring in the AGO from Rivers State and was contracted to do the job through a telephone call.