JTF parades 14 suspected oil thieves in Bayelsa …..impounds vessel with 35 tonnes of illegal crude

JTF parades 14 suspected oil thieves in Bayelsa …..impounds vessel with 35 tonnes of illegal crude

The Joint Military Taskforce (JTF)  yesterday paraded 14 suspected oil thieves  and impounded an vessel code named Princes Nnenna that conveyed  35 tonnes of  diesel and  crude  oil along Manson creek ,near Brass, Bayelsa State.

Among  the  suspects  included a  notorious  female bunkerer , Hajia Ladia and the Managing Director of the seized vessel whose identity was not disclosed.

Operatives of the JTF destroyed seven large wooden boats used by  the  bunkerers   in trans-loading  the  crude to the vessel.

Addressing journalists at Brass yesterday,  Commander  of  343 Battalion of Sector Two ,JTF and leader of the troops  that arrested the suspects,  Lt. Col Muktar Adamu, said they were nabbed  while trans-loading the crude from  the large wooden boats to the bigger vessel.

“We are ready for the fight to finish in the battle against illegal refineries and oil bunkering  in the  region’, Adamu said.

The JTF official said  the vessel belonged to Magnum International Limited.

Adamu  further disclosed that  some hoses  used by the bunkerers  in  trans-loading   the crude were found  in the vessel  ,stressing that  no weapon or arms were recovered during the operation.

In the same vein, Spokesman of JTF, Lt Col Onyema Nwachukwu said the suspects would be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes  Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

He said: “We brought you here to parade the vessel and the suspects. We are ready for the war against illegal refineries and oil thefts in the region. We are not EFCC, ours is not to prosecute suspects, but ensure their arrest”.

In an interview, Capt. of the vessel, James Ofoetsoye said he was directed by Hajia Ladi to refuel his vessel at Manson Creek before they were arrested by the  JTF.

The father  of eight  children  pleaded for leniency, saying that this was  his first involvement in illegal oil bunkering.