By Cletus Opukeme, Steve Seigha & Esther Eugene, Warri
The men and Officers of the Nigerian Naval ship, NNS Delta, in Warri, may face fresh trouble as allegation against the Navy involvement in the sales of seized stolen AGO otherwise known as Diesel to marketers who do not have court authorization to buy such product.
Daily Watch investigations carried out revealed that the Navy had intercepted a vessel belonging to Julius Berger being used for illegal bunkering activities along the Delta waterways sometimes last year and impounded it with alongside with the stolen AGO product.
It was learnt that the management of the company had approached an Abuja high court demanding the release of the vessel since it was used by oil theft cartel for the illegal operation without the knowledge of the company.
On hearing the matter, the Abuja high court ordered that the vessel be released to the management of the company since it did not give its consent for the vessel to be engaged in criminal activities, as it was deployed for its legitimate road construction business in the region.
Consequently upon this judgement, the management of Julius Berger directed the men and officers of NNS Delta under the Command of Rear Admiral Ibrahim Dewu, , discharged the product in the vessel and returned its property to them empty.
A police source who pleaded anonymity while disclosing this to Daily Watch in Warri, yesterday hinted that it was based on this directive that the NNS Delta personnel threw the market to open to unauthorized individuals, selling the product at the cost of N120 per litre.
According to him, “we observed the movement of Petroleum tankers into the premises of the naval base and on further inquiries it was revealed that the are marketers who have not being authorized by the court to buy the seized product that were moving in trucks to load from the seized vessel”.
“They claimed they were contacted to come and buy the product at the cost of N120 per litre which they claimed was a better offer when compared to PPMC prize as the product was a top grade being refined product either imported or direct from the Warri Refinery”.
He stated further that; “Most of the loaded tankers however later had some challenges while moving out because they do not posses the required court authorization for the product and some security personnel and community youths took advantage of this to demand settlement from the marketers”.
“Many of them later resorted to hiding their tankers in some places in town to enable them secure fake documents to enable them move their products to their various destinations”, he stated.
It was learnt that the Ekpan youths who held one of the truck at tanker garage by Niger Cat area were settled with three hundred thousand naira (N300 000) to release the truck while the Warri Area Command decided to be silent on the case even when the Area Commander, ACP Mukhtar Garba was fully aware.
Debunking the allegation of collecting bribe or being silent about the alleged deal, Warri Area Commander, Nigeria Police, ACP Garba said his boys had earlier arrested two of the trucks loading diesel from the naval base on the suspicion that they were stolen.
He said after investigation, it was discovered that they were on a legal trip from the naval base, adding that Rear Admiral Dewu of NNS Delta told him the Attorney General gave them the order through the court to.auction the product.
“My men arrested two of the trucks loaded with the product from NNS Delta. It is true but the navy said it was the Attorney General and Minister of Justice that gave the authorisation to the court for the sale of the diesel.
“I do not know anything about collecting bribe from Rear Admiral Dewu as I did my job as it should be done. His explanation made me release the trucks. In fact, the trucks were even more than 10 at the naval base that time,” ACP Mukhtar disclosed on phone.