In a prompt response to a distress call, the Nigerian Navy’s NNS Beecroft patrol team, stationed at the Forward Operations Base (FOB) in Lekki, Lagos State, successfully thwarted an attempted oil theft operation on the waterways in Itolu community, Lekki.
Five suspects arrested during the operation were paraded at NNS Beecroft in Apapa, Lagos. The commander, Commodore Kolawale Oguntuga, disclosed that the incident took place in the early hours of August 29 when local youths reported gunshots in the community.
Upon receiving the information, naval patrol teams promptly launched a response operation. When they arrived at the scene, they encountered four individuals dressed in black polo shirts with “TANTITA” written on the back. These individuals were attempting to retrieve a dismantled outboard engine from a local resident. The naval team successfully recovered the engine and arrested the four TANTITA employees.
Further investigation revealed that these individuals were part of a group associated with a large wooden boat and two fiber boats. However, when they noticed the naval patrol teams, the boats changed course, fled the scene, and abandoned the large wooden boat, which was carrying 11 x 1000L Geepee tanks suspected to contain stolen crude oil.
The arrested suspects were identified as Asonja Goddey (28), Obajimi Oluwaseyifunmi (38), Awoowo Aribo (35), and Oluwadaisi Balogun (40), all from Igbokoda in Ondo State. Additionally, Ishola Ojubuyi (42), the owner of the boat the suspects attempted to use, was also taken into custody.
The Nigerian Navy has initiated an investigation into the incident, focusing on the possession of firearms used in the community, economic sabotage, the origin of the stolen product, and the attempt to steal a boat engine from locals. One Owoyele Omotuyi, who claimed to be a TANTITA staff member, attempted to secure the release of the arrested suspects but provided no explanation for why the officers accompanying him fled upon encountering the naval patrol team.
All suspects, along with the seized exhibits, will be handed over to appropriate agencies for further necessary action and prosecution. The Nigerian Navy is committed to maintaining a conducive maritime environment for legitimate businesses and economic prosperity under the leadership of Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.