By Cletus Opukeme, Warri
Four officials of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL), reportedly arrested for alleged oil theft by the Nigerian Navy (NN), have been cleared and released.
Findings showed that Tantita’s personnel were freed following the outcome of the intensive investigation by the Navy, which revealed that they were not culpable.
It was gathered that reprieve came in the way of the suspects when it was discovered in the course of the investigation that their arrest was made in error in the first instance by the NN.
The suspects, who were initially handed over to the police by the Navy, were released when the authorities at the Naval headquarters were convinced in the course of the investigation that their arrest was a “mistake.”
It was gathered that the Naval authorities prevailed on their police counterpart to free the suspects for “want of satisfactory evidence to prosecute them.”
Reliable sources in TANTITA confirmed their release to newsmen on Saturday, adding that the latest development had vindicated its employers.
It will be recalled that Tantita had in the wake of the arrest of its personnel, expressed their innocence, adding that they were on the manhunt of the oil thieves when they were unjustly apprehended by the Naval personnel attached to the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Becroft.
The Tantita’s management, which protested the fate of its personnel, said the action smacks off blackmail and intimidation and demand their immediate release.
Tantita’s management described the action as “unjustifiable, unwarranted and provocative.”
“Our personnel, who were unlawfully arrested for trumped-up allegations of illegal oil theft along Lagos waterways have been freed and released to re-unite with us. The Navy, upon outcome of thorough investigations directed the Police to release them. As Tantita stated initially, our men were on legitimate duties when they were unlawfully arrested.”
“We are happy that common sense eventually prevailed and our men were left off the hook. This gesture by the Navy will foster and engender good working relationship to pursue common goals of eradicating crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.”
“TANTITA and Navy are now partners in progress and henceforth, we will operate in synergy to turn the heat on illegal oil operators in every part of the oil producing areas and creeks of the Niger Delta region,” added Tantita source, which craved anonymity.
It will be recalled that NN had on April 29th claimed that it arrested four operatives of TSSNL at New Ikotun Community, Lekki, Lagos, for attempted oil theft.