Tompolo’s Firm Accuses Navy of Shielding Oil Thieves

Tompolo’s Firm Accuses Navy of Shielding Oil Thieves

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Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, owned by a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo, has accused the Nigerian Navy of shielding some suspected oil thieves being pursued by its personnel.
The firm, which is an oil pipeline surveillance firm contracted by the federal government to fight oil thieves, alleged that the Navy arrested four of its personnel chasing the suspects on the high seas towards a naval base.
The Nigerian Navy had on August 31, 2023, in a press statement credited to the Commander, NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Kolawole Olumide Oguntuga, stated that it arrested four Tantita personnel for alleged crude oil theft.
But in a statement issued yesterday, Tantita described the Nigerian Navy’s statement as “a tragicomedy of errors,” insisting that it was nothing but a smear campaign.

The statement reads: “The Navy has been sharing pictures in social media of the Tantita staff in their custody in various shades of undress but kept silent about the names of the boat crew whom they were chasing. In short, where is the crew that the Tantita personnel chased into Ibeju Lekki?”, Tantita queried.
Tantita maintained that the arrest for four days and parade of its staff by the Nigerian Navy as common criminals should “be deprecated by all right-thinking members of society, at a time when our nation is in dire straits with the unparalleled loss of revenue from a monocultural export-based economy”.
“These family men put their lives at risk for the good of the nation and are now being made to suffer ridicule for doing the right thing. It serves to demoralise good men everywhere who have sought and are seeking to do something to better our nation”, the firm stated.

It noted that “As soon as these men were arrested, the management of Tantita reached out to the Nigerian Navy seeking clarification of the situation. For four days, the Navy said they were investigating and that the men would be released”.
Tantita claimed that it had known the outcome of the Navy’s investigation on the incident, saying “there are even more damning revelations, which out of courtesy to the Navy hierarchy and the needs of national security we will not divulge on the pages of a newspaper”.
The firm however stated that the continued detention by the Nigerian Navy of the selfless Nigerians who risked their lives on the high seas to protect the country’s commonwealth is a disservice to our nation.

According to Tantita’s press statement: “On Monday, the 28th of August, 2023 at about 0130hours, one of the company’s patrol teams operating in the Ondo State area received credible intelligence that a motorised wooden boat was illegally loading crude oil from an Offshore Oil Well Jacket, 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.
“Based on the intelligence, an advance team was dispatched to find the wooden boat while a back-up team consisting of Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corps component of the government security agencies was assembled to follow through on the lead.
“While we cannot name the NSCDC personnel for obvious reasons, they were six in number and our personnel were eight, not four in number.
“The advance team with the help of local fisherfolk was able to determine that the motorised wooden boat was heading in the direction of Lagos and gave hot pursuit.

“Upon noticing the approaching Tantita teams, the crew of the motorised wooden boat abandoned the wooden boat for their speed boat. One team of Tantita and NSCDC personnel boarded the wooden boat to secure the evidence while another team gave hot pursuit.
“There is video evidence of the Tantita team together with NSCDC personnel coming alongside the wooden boat, boarding and attempting to secure the boat.
“There is also evidence of the Tantita and GSA team giving chase to the crew of the boat. How then did the Nigerian Navy get involved in this operation?
“The video also shows the Tantita crew trying to secure the wooden boat which was taking in water (this could have resulted from an attempt to scuttle the boat by the escaping crew; anyone who understands Yoruba can listen in on the conversations).

The statement added, “surprisingly the escaping crew of the motorised wooden boat fled in the direction of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operation Base at Ibeju-Lekki; so, the Tantita and NSCDC personnel followed in hot pursuit believing that the criminals would meet their Waterloo there. They were wrong. Instead of the fleeing crew being arrested, it was the Tantita personnel who came down to apprehend the fleeing crew that was arrested. After arresting Tantita personnel and freeing the crew, the Nigerian Navy personnel then went to the motorised wooden boat and drove out the combined Tantita/GSA team trying to keep the boat and the evidence afloat.”

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