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Rivers: Nigerian Navy says fake naval officer, others arrested for oil theft

The Nigerian Navy says it arrested three suspects, one of whom impersonated a naval officer to allegedly issue forged documents to facilitate illegal oil bunkering activities in Rivers.

NNS Pathfinder commander Commodore Desmond Igbo disclosed this to journalists while parading the suspects, who were later handed over to the police in Port Harcourt on Monday.

According to Commodore Igbo, the suspects were intercepted by the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base in Bonny Island on November 8, 2023, while they were facilitating fake oil approval for a vessel ‘MV Mother Gabrini’.

Mr Igbo stated that the crew presented a fake NNS Pathfinder oil approval. Upon discovery, the navy trailed the crew and arrested the persons involved in the illicit act in different locations after a one-week sustained intelligence-led operation.

He disclosed that one of the suspects, Williams Nweale, impersonated a naval officer to conduct illegal escort and security in events, adding that two camouflage uniforms and other military gear were recovered from his house.

He said, “In pursuance of the chief of the naval staff strategic directive, NNS Pathfinder has sustained its efforts at curbing crude oil theft and illegal bunkering. 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. The suspects before were trailed and arrested in different locations after a one-week sustained intelligence-led operation.”

Receiving the suspects, the Divisional Police Officer of Rumuelumini Division, CSP Olufunke Opayemi, assured that the suspects would be prosecuted after investigation.