Officials of the Nigerian Navy on Friday in Oteghale community, Warri-South Local Government Area of Delta State uncovered a hideout of crude oil thieves and arrested 16 suspects.
Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Augustine Suleman, who confirmed the development, said the arrest of the suspects was made possible via a tip-off.
He added that the operatives discovered a hop tap on the Trans Forcados pipeline fixed with six inches valve that allows crude oil thieves’ access to Nigerian crude unhindered.
He said: “A trip to the site revealed drums of over 8,000 tones through illegal trades.’’
Rear Admiral Suleman said the operatives realised that the Cotonou boats were not available and illegal refineries no longer existing with impunity.
He said, “What they are doing now is to connect pipes to the export line. They attach the pipes to the line and lay the pipes as far as two kilometers off shore and load directly from there.’’
Suleman, however, assured of their preparedness to end the illicit trade, disclosing that the suspects would be handed over to the police for further prosecution.