Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) have arrested five foreigners suspected to be pipeline vandals with several 25 litres jerry cans laden with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
The suspects – Agbotou Firmin, Sohe Soule, Gbenou Daniel, Dosspu Vigor and Sodohe Olivier, all Beninnois, were arrested on May 25, but handed over to the Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Tajudeen Balogun, on Monday.
They were nabbed along Badagry Creeks in Tongeji Island by naval personnel attached to the Forward Operation Base (FOB) Badagry, while conveying the suspected stolen products on a wooden boat towards Benin Republic.
Also handed over to the NSCDC were a Yamaha 40HP outboard engine and a wooden boat containing the filled jerry cans.
According to Commander NNS BEECROFT, Comm. Abraham Adaji, the suspects were intercepted by a navy boat on routine patrol.
“The product is believed to have been collected from a vandalised pipeline. The suspects were later transferred to NNS BEECROFT for custody and further investigation.
“They claimed that it was their boss who asked them to convey the product to Port Novo, where it would be sold to buyers. Petrol imported by the Federal Government is meant for local consumption in Nigeria.
There is no known agreement between Nigerian and Benin Republic for the supply of petrol,” Adaji said.
However, the suspects denied being pipeline vandals, insisting that they were only instructed by their elder brother to convey the jerry cans to Port Novo.
Firmin, 29, who spoke to reporters in French, said they did not commit any crime.
Commending the navy for its sustained war against vandals, Balogun assured that thorough investigation will be conducted and appropriate actions taken.