The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Beecroft, based in Apapa, Lagos, has successfully unveiled two coastal communities in Lagos State exploited by oil thieves as loading bays for stolen petroleum products.
As a result, a significant interception occurred, with 90 drums, each containing 250 liters of petroleum products, discovered in a fiber boat in one of the communities situated in the Ijegun area of the state. Additionally, a tanker loaded with 180 liters of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and several 25-liter jerricans was apprehended in the Folu community within the Ibeju Lekki area.
Commodore Kolawole Oguntuga, the Commander of NNS Beecroft, revealed this development during a briefing at the NNS Beecroft jetty. He highlighted that these recoveries transpired within just five days of the initiation of Operation Water Guard by the Nigerian Navy. This operation aims to render the waterways inhospitable to oil thieves and counter various maritime illegalities.
Oguntuga detailed the success of the operation, stating, “On November 11, 2023, around 2:20 am, based on reliable intelligence regarding the movement of petroleum products in a blue fiber boat, personnel from the Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft and Operation Awatse, a maritime component, were dispatched to a community around Ijegun. There, a large fiber boat, exhibited here, was recovered with over 90 drums filled with 250 liters capacity of suspected Premium Motor Spirit.”
He emphasized the significant resources deployed for the operation, including numerous vessels and quick response teams strategically stationed along the coast from Badagry to Lekki. The operation, aided by intelligence and the Falcon Eye facility, further uncovered illicit activities in the Folu community. Oguntuga described the findings, stating, “Based on intelligence and utilizing the Falcon Eye facility, we discovered that products in jerricans were being transported from a neighboring state and transferred into tankers in Folu community in Ibeju Lekki, a border community between Lagos State and Ogun state.”
The Commander highlighted the discovery of an 18,000-liter tanker suspected to contain AGO, along with pumping machines, hoses, and jerricans. The perpetrators fled upon sighting the naval personnel, abandoning the vessel and its illicit cargo.
In addition to obstructing the availability of Premium Motor Spirit for Nigerian consumers, Oguntuga underscored the potential dangers posed by such operations, citing the risk of triggering fires with catastrophic consequences for life and property. The Nigerian Navy remains committed to curbing these illicit activities and ensuring the safety and security of maritime operations in the region.