By Abubakar Yunusa
Tompolo’s outfit, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, has urged the Nigerian Navy of disseminating false and incomplete information regarding oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
According to the Nigerian Navy’s statement, “Following the arrest, the patrol team discovered that the four individuals were associated with a large wooden boat loaded with 11 x 1000L Geepee tanks containing suspected stolen crude oil. ”
In a statement released by the company on Friday, they stated that , “Our personnel were not involved in crude oil theft, as alleged by the Nigerian Navy. ”
The statement clarifies that, “The Nigerian Navy’s account is that in the early hours of August 29, 2023, Tantita operatives attempted to steal crude oil, which they claim to have thwarted. They assert that they responded to distress calls from youths in the Itolou Community in the Lekki axis of Lagos. Upon receiving this information, Naval patrol teams launched an immediate response operation.
“Upon arriving at the scene, the Naval team encountered four individuals dressed in black polo shirts with Tantita inscribed on the back, who were trying to recover a dismantled outboard engine from a local. The team recovered the engine and apprehended the four Tantita employees.
“What’s particularly intriguing is the disconnect between the outboard engine recovery incident and the sudden realization by the Navy patrol team that the four arrested individuals were part of a group operating a large wooden boat at sea carrying stolen crude oil. This inconsistency in the narrative is puzzling.
“On the contrary, this is what actually occurred: On Monday, the 28th of August 2023, at approximately 01:30 hours, a Tantita Security Services Patrol team operating in the Ondo State area received credible intelligence that a motorized wooden boat was illicitly loading crude oil from an offshore oil well jacket. In fact, it was the same well jacket in OML 110 operated by Cavendish Petroleum Nigeria Limited, where the MT TURA II was caught stealing crude oil a few months ago.
“There is video evidence of the Tantita team, along with NSCDC personnel, approaching the wooden boat, boarding it, and attempting to secure it.
“The video also depicts the Tantita crew’s efforts to secure the wooden boat, which was taking on water ‘possibly due to an attempt by the escaping crew to scuttle the boat; anyone who understands Yoruba can listen to the conversations’.
“Surprisingly, the fleeing crew of the motorized wooden boat headed in the direction of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operation Base at Ibeju-Lekki. Consequently, the Tantita and NSCDC personnel pursued them, believing that the criminals would be apprehended there.
“Most importantly, where is the boat now? The boat can be clearly seen in the video provided below. Did the Nigerian Navy secure the boat? Can the Nigerian Navy explain the whereabouts of the motorized wooden boat? They were the last to be seen with the boat.
“The four-day detention and public display of Tantita staff by the Nigerian Navy as common criminals should be condemned by all conscientious members of society, especially at a time when our nation faces unparalleled revenue loss from its export-based economy.
“These family men risked their lives for the greater good of the nation and are now subjected to ridicule for doing the right thing. Such actions serve to demoralize honorable individuals who strive to improve our nation.
“As soon as these men were arrested, Tantita’s management reached out to the Nigerian Navy seeking clarification of the situation. For four days, the Navy claimed to be conducting an investigation and that the men would be released. We now have the results of their investigation in the form of this poorly-drafted press release.
“There are even more damning revelations, which, out of respect for the Navy’s hierarchy and national security concerns, we will refrain from disclosing in this newspaper. The continued detention of these five courageous and selfless Nigerians by the Nigerian Navy, who risked their lives on the high seas to protect our national wealth, is a disservice to our nation. ”