The Nigerian Navy (NN), yesterday handed over a merchant vessel, MT Good Success, loaded with 1,940 metric tonnes of petrol to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The vessel was arrested by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Andoni, commanded by Captain Chidi Okpala, in Lagos after it was discovered that the vessel contained 1,940 metric tonnes of petrol instead of the 350 metric tonnes of AGO it was licensed to load.
During the hand over, the Commander NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Ovenseri Uwadiae, said after the navy's preliminary investigation, a prima facie case was established against the vessel and in line with extant provisions, the NN headquarters gave directives to handover the vessel to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.
He said, "MT Good Success has clarence to carry 350 metric tonnes of AGO but upon arrest by NNS Andoni, it was discovered that instead of the AGO it was cleared to carry, the vessel had 1,940 metric tonnes of PMS.
"The conditions for clearance for AGO and PMS are not the same because of the subsidy regime in place for PMS and so the ship was impounded. We are using this opportunity to warn members of the public that the game is over.
"The years when illegalities thrived in our maritime domain are over. People must follow due process and ensure they have documents to back their dealings because the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, has mandated us to ensure the law takes its full course on those found wanting."
Although the vessel and its content would be kept in the navy's custody as requested by the EFCC, Uwadiae said the commission should ensure that a letter is written to that effect, so that it will be clearly stated that the Navy was keeping the vessel for EFCC.
In response, EFCC's Counter Terrorism and General Investigation boss, Aminu Aliyu, said the agency would commence investigation.
Meanwhile, although the navy said it was still investigating last Friday fracas, new reports have it that they have finally arrested the alleged naval personnel who shot dead a tanker driver on Friday at Trinity in Lagos.
Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed the errant personnel, who was attached to the naval arm of the Operation Mesa (OP Mesa), was arrested and was marched to the guardroom of the NNS Beecroft.
However, when contacted, Uwadaie refuted the claim, adding that there was no arrest, rather, the navy was working on the allegation that the suspect is a naval personnel as claimed by witnesses.
In another development, hours after a yet-to-be identified naval personnel allegedly shot a tanker driver dead, another personnel of the Navy attached to the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos, weekend attacked a motorist in front of the Silverbird Galleria, Ahmadu Bello Way,Victoria Island.
According to the victim, who captured the incident on tape, he was trying to park at the galleria and was waiting for the car in front to exit the space first, when he was brutalised by the personnel whose faces where captured in the picture.
He said, "Apparently, a naval Toyota Hilux was behind me all the while. They moved from behind me to my side and I was asked by one naval personnel occupying the passenger seat what I was doing on the spot. I replied that I was waiting for the car in front of me to move out of the car park so that I could park.
"The naval personnel abruptly got down from the Hilux and tried to pull me out of the car. He slapped me, tore my shirt and then kicked the door with his boots on. To my surprise he also kicked and broke the glass of the driver’s seat which I occupied.
"While he was harassing me, the other naval officer who drove came down and was trying to pacify the former naval personnel perpetrating all these nefarious acts but he refused and made sure he broke the glass of the car then they both got into their van and zoomed off."
He added, "at this point I was devastated and felt cheated, so I chased them till we got to the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos. Unfortunately, the guards at the gate hurriedly allowed them in and turned me back.
"There was a bit of protest around the dockyard by some civilians (women) who followed me from the scene after seeing the unjust treatment meted on me at the scene but the protest did not last long as we were evacuated from the vicinity of the dockyard by the guards at the gate.
"Eventually, I went to the nearest police station and reported all that happened. However, one of the women that witnessed the ignominy left us with her number and told us to call her if we needed her to testify.
"Also, a friend of mine was in the car that witnessed all the mess and was smart enough to take pictures at the scene including the faces of the naval personnels."
While calling on the NN authorities to look into the incident, he expressed hope that the perpetrators would be punished for their misconduct to deter other others.