The Federal Government has warned oil thieves and also lauded Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL) over the arrest of MT KALI vessel in Bayelsa.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Maj.-Gen. Christopher stated this on Monday during an on-the-spot inspection of the impounded vessel in Oporoza, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta.
The MT KALI was apprehended on Saturday by the TSSL, in conjunction with the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps ( NSCDC)
The ship allegedly laden with 199 tonnes of stolen crude oil, was later moved to Oporoza for anchorage while investigation continues.
Arrested alongside the vessel were 20 suspects excluding one that jumped into the sea.
The CDS warned those who indulged in oil theft to desist forthwith or faced the full wrath of the law.
He said that the Nigeria security forces would continue to collaborate with the private security agencies to curtail the illegality
“We are here as directed by the Commander-In-Chief based on the report of the ship that was arrested.
“I think it’s a major achievement. It shows that we are committed to ensuring that we stop this criminality within the maritime environment.
“This is a collaborative effort and we will continue to collaborate with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and the private security agencies.
“The main federal government agencies are also working together. I don’t want a situation where we will create a seamless enemity between this group and that group.
“We are working for the same team. we are all Nigerians and this is our country. Whatever that is happening here is an act of criminality that must be stopped by all Nigerians,” he said.
Musa said that all hands must be on deck to stop the illicit trade, adding that the “country is bleeding and needed funds to grow and develop”.
According to him, the suspects arrested alongside the vessel were the ground troop, adding that the main actors were behind.
He said that the Chief of Defence Intelligence would investigate to know those involved, what was taken and who sent them.
“I want to use this opportunity to warn all those who indulged in oil theft that enough is enough.
‘The Armed Forces, security agencies, the community’s private security agencies, as long as they are contracted by the Federal Government, we are going to work together as a team.
“There is not going to be any competition between us and please the media should stop making it look as if it is a fight, there is no fight.
“Whatever arrest has been made, it is done in collaboration with other secirity agencies and we are going to continue to do that.
“We are happy this vessel has been arrested. We are going to take it up from here.
“Henceforth, we are going to enhance our collaboration and ensuring that we check these menace,” he said.
Musa said that individuals cannot hold the country back with their illicit acts.
He said that in spite efforts by governemnt, the criminals are hell bent on stealing crude for their selfish gain.
The CDS thanked the TSSL for the feat and assured it that they would work together as a team.
He said that the vessel and it’s content would be treated in accordance with the standard operating procedure.
Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mr Bala Wunti, Managing Director, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) are among the CDS entourage.