A suspect named Samuel Michael, who was recently arrested and
put in the custody of a task force fighting criminals operating along the
waters in Nigeria, has revealed that his syndicate that specializes in
trafficking arms and hijacking Nigeria-bound cargo hired a vessel to perpetrate
their crime. Michael, who is also referred to as Logistics Officer, among the
crew on board MV Naomi Corlet, betrayed no emotion while dishing out the
details of his syndicate’s escapade
Other suspected criminals in the Lagos coastline have been
arrested by the operatives of the task force, just as a special operation by
the Nigerian Navy is currently flushing criminals out of the nation’s waters in
the Niger Delta.
a period of six months to enable his gang to have enough time to maximize its
use for their nefarious operation. He specifically named one Charles as the
person in charge of facilitating the vessel.
top officials of the federal government including an unnamed member of the
House of Representatives and a prominent lawyer.
usually take off and move down to Badagry, Lagos State, where we have a depot
of sorts. We offload our cache of arms at Badagry and return to the water for
operation. It is through Badagry that arms enter Nigeria.
kept. What I am saying is that only about 20 per cent of the arms stay in Lagos
while others are scattered in different locations across the country,
especially the Niger-Delta.”
trafficking on four occasions with each operation fetching him what he referred
to as “good money”. He said he was on his way to yet another operation in
Cotonou, Republic of Benin capital, when the long arms of the law caught up
with him and other members of his gang.
developed a mechanical fault which forced it to a halt. He said he called
someone at Apapa who could fix the problem and the person brought a
power-generating set to the spot but got the shock of his life when he entered
the vessel and saw traces of hard drugs.
suspicious, given the fact that the gang members were at first reluctant in
allowing him into the vessel. They eventually allowed him because they were in
dire need of his service at that point in time.
vessel, he kept quiet and subsequently stumbled on some live cartridges.
Because of the fear that they might harm him and throw him into the sea, he did
not show sign of shock.
he returned to Apapa to bring a certain component. This was what helped him out
of the place. By the time he got to Apapa, he contacted somebody who alerted
engineer when, suddenly, through their monitor, they discovered that they had
been surrounded by members of the task force. This development, he said,
brought untold apprehension and forced them to throw some boxes of arms in the
vessel into the sea.
a vessel named Naomi Corlet which we wanted to use to hijack a vessel carrying
AGO on the high sea. The person who chartered the vessel is one Mr. Charles.
and gallons of petrol were found on board the vessel. Apart from our sponsor,
Charles and Ademola other known buyers of the stolen products are Ebere, IK and
the creeks – Naval chief
yesterday said the navy was in the creeks primarily to flush out criminal
elements from the sector as mandated by President Goodluck Jonathan.
ordered them, especially the chief of naval staff, to end all illegal
activities in the sector including oil theft. Speaking exclusively to
LEADERSHIP, Ezeoba said he was leading the invasion of the hideouts of the oil
thieves to show the seriousness his leadership attaches to the presidential
Jonathan, has mandated us to put an end to oil theft, which is one of the
greatest threats to our economy, and there is no going back. We are invading
their hideouts in the Niger Delta region and whoever stands on our way will
face the full wrath of the law. Next week has been declared a week against
these unpatriotic elements amidst us and nothing is stopping us from carrying
out the mandate,” he said. “In pursuance of Mr. President’s mandate to the
Nigerian Navy (NN) to do all it can to stamp out the prevalence of illegal
maritime activities, particularly crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and piracy
in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, the Nigerian Navy will be conducting a
major fleet evaluation. The exercise codenamed Exercise FARANTA, meaning
‘hunting’ in Hausa, from Sunday to Saturday this week in the Bight of Bonny.
The aim of the exercise is to intensify the ongoing naval operations in the
Niger Delta region with emphasis on Bonny Akasa-Escravos axis (an area
notorious for crude oil theft) up to the extent of offshore oil platforms at
Bings and Bogi.
operational capability with a view to identifying gaps and taking necessary
measures to fill such gaps for enhanced operational readiness. The synergy of
this effort will ensure full mission accomplishment across the threat spectrum with
specific emphasis to immediately end all criminal activities in the Niger Delta
region. The scenario painted with the exercise is consistent with the
contemporary maritime challenges in the country.”
NNS Thunder, NNS Kyanwa, NNS Nwamba, NNS Obula, NNS Bimtu, NNS Zaura, NNS
Makurat, NNS Andoni, six gun boats, Augusta Helicopters 07, 08 and 09, two
Nigerian Army section and one NAF maritime patrol aircraft.
Commodore Kabiru Aliyu, called on all stakeholders in the marine sector to
cooperate with the naval authorities. According to him, “those who have
legitimate reasons to be on our waters have nothing to fear because we are not
after them, but those who steal our oil, those who are pirates and other
economic saboteurs of our country are in trouble”.
Force, will be involved even as the NNS Thunder, the ship that would lead the
operation, is billed to berth at the Bonny Akasa Escravos early this morning.
He said the team would not return to Abuja until sanity is fully restored in
the region. He later gave the exclusive photo of the NNS Thunder to LEADERSHIP.