Confession Of Suspected Oil Thieves: How NNPC, Security Agencies Arrested Us While Evacuating Stolen Crude
After fourteen days of intense surveillance, operatives of Tantita Security Services Ltd, which is the private security outfit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd engaged to secure crude oil assets, again recorded another major breakthrough with the arrest of six suspected crude oil thieves.
The arrest is a yet another major breakthrough in the NNPC’s fight against crude oil thieves whose activities have denied the nation huge revenue from crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
THE WHISTLER understands that the discovery of the illegal movement of Nigeria’s crude was made following intelligence
reports received two weeks ago by Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd and Mason Engineering indicated that the location was being used for activities
outside its approval limits.
The operation saw the arrest of six crude oil thieves who were discovered to have been hiding under the guise of sewage transportation to steal crude oil.
Four of them were paraded to journalists in Warri by the security agencies.
The vessel identified as FP Amangwu used by the crude oil thieves was also destroyed by a joint team of government security agencies inside the creek at Otuegele in Warri Delta State.
Speaking during an interview, four of the arrested suspected crude oil thieves admitted to stealing crude oil under the guise of sewage transportation.
One of the arrested suspect who gave his name as Daniel Dickson said he was caught during the illegal operation on the Barge.
He said, “I was arrested on top the barge. I work for First Freight, which owns the batch, FP Amangwu.
“The barge was hired through Petralon 54, located at Port Harcourt. They hired the barge for transportation of crude from Port Harcourt to Warri. When they hired the batch, they loaded the batch. It was two barges, and they brought it down to Warri here.
“So, reaching this place, they did their evacuation. They took out their crude because the Barge is not sea-going. They brought a vessel and took their oil down to the sea and left the Barge at NPA here in Warri.
“So, getting to the point when they finished their oil, they asked the Barge owner, which is First Fright to come take their Barge and that they were done. One of the Barge has already been sent to Port Harcourt.
“This second one was to go for a simpler job, we were doing clean up at some closeouts and after doing the paperwork, they now asked us to move the Barge down to a safe place where we can do the evacuation. So we took it to Opete, where the Jetty is located- Ejovi Jetty.
“At that point, we now gathered all that we have in the twelve tanks to these two tanks so that it will be easy for evacuation. After we did that, we now called Petralon that what we are having on this tank is so much that we can’t handle it.
“They now answered us and brought these people.When they came, they started doing the evacuation, and we thought they were well licenced to carry on the job. In the process of doing that, the truck that was doing the evacuation was held by some military men and brought back to our Barge.
“The company that hired us is licenced to do crude, but I have not seen the licence because it is not in my capacity to question them. I’m just a worker but I believe the management of my company looked at it.”
He said the volume of crude oil that was being evacuated when they were arrested is about 700 barrels.
An analysis by THE WHISTLER showed that at an average price of $80 per barrel, this translates into about $56,000 which is equivalent to N41.4m.
“What we have inside there because it was not all the compartment that was carrying crude is about 600 to 700 barrels of crude oil that was inside here.
“Since the day we were arrested, we have not had access to our phones to know if our company have come or for them to know where we are being kept. We have not heard from them since our arrest,” he added.
Also giving his account is Samuel Esu who also claimed to work with First Frieght.
Samuel who claimed to be a new employee of the company, said he was not aware that the operation was an illegal one.
He said, “I work with First Freight but I do not work in the Barge. I work at the office here in Warri. I just came into the Barge to assist him in supervising the evacuation, and they (security agencies)came and pick me up.
“I do not know that I was doing illegal business. I just got employed into the company.”
For Jeremiah Ademola who is an employee of Diamond Energytech Company Ltd, he claimed to have been deceived by his boss who told him to go and supervise the operation without much details of what it entails.
He said, “I work for Diamond Energytech Company. My company is into waste management. So Petralon contacted the company for evacuation. Immediately, they contacted my company, and they spoke with my boss. So that was what brought me into the picture.
“What my boss told me is that Petralon told them that they wanted to evacuate waste water that is contaminated with oil from a Barge. When I got there and saw it was crude, what happened was that they said they scope the entire compartment into two, and when such things are done, the water will be under and it was just the surface of it that I could see then.
“Before they brought me here, they were so much in haste. The morning I came, my agenda was just to look at the content, but their supervisor was like the barge had limited time to leave, and that they needed to do the evacuation quickly and my boss was not there to know the situation of things and the information they gave from Petralon is waste water..
“The name of my boss is Mr David Idapo. I contacted him that evening, and even when the policemen apprehended us, he tried to talk to them that what was in the tank was waste water.”
Speaking during a tour of the facility, the Executive Director, Operations and Technical
Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited,Captain Warredi Enisuoh said said the Barge was towed by an unknown Tugboat into Mawe Services Limited’s Jetty and left.
According to him, a team of Tantita Security Services Operatives continued to monitor the Jetty for suspicious activities.
He said during the surveillance, it was observed that a Sewage Truck
with Plate No. JR7750XA visited the Jetty twice.
During its third visit on 12th May
2023, Enisuoh explained that the Truck was accosted by the Tantita Security Operatives keeping
constant vigil over the area.
He said, “Upon inspection, the substance found inside the
tank was not sewage, rather, Crude Oil. The driver was arrested and handed over to Government Security Operatives.
“The driver later revealed the destination of the contents, which took us to
another yard inland, also operated by Mawe Services Limited.
Within the Mawe Services Limited’s premises, there were two metallic cylindrical
tanks of about 45,000 liters capacity, each. Both tanks were inspected and one
was found to be filled up with Crude Oil.”
He explained further that the Driver of the Truck confirmed that
he has been transferring the contents of the barge into the tank that was filled.
“An inspection of the Yard Security Logbook showed that the Truck visited the
location severally and the contents of the Truck were well spelt out as ‘crude,” he added.
He added based on the operation of the crude oil thieves, the stolen crude oil would will be stored at a barge and then transfered to illegal refineries with smaller vehicles for processing into petrol and diesel.