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Eastern Port Police Command Arrest 5 Over Diversion Of Cargo From Port Harcourt Seaports

The suspects

The Nigeria Police Force has again reiterated its commitment to enforcing all laws and emplacing anti-crime strategies to curb illegal activities at the various ports and around the economic hubs in Nigeria.

The commitment is geared towards stimulating the government’s agenda of quick economic recovery and development in the country.

According to a statement by ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters on Sunday 18th February, 2024,
the commitment was re-echoed when the Eastern Port Police Command confirmed the arrest of 5 suspects in connection with the diversion of bags of wheat belonging to the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP), and recovery of about 1,238 bags of wheat in Port-Harcourt on the 6th of February 2024.

The 1,840 bags of wheat which were to be transported from Ibeto Port Terminal, Port-Harcourt, to an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp located in Kano State were fraudulently diverted by the drivers tasked with this assignment, alongside their accomplices, who were intercepted and apprehended by the operatives of the Nigeria Police attached to the Eastern Port.

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The operatives made an arrest of five (5) suspects namely Umar Hashim, Edidiong Umoh, Udah Stanley, Abubakar Jariri and Yunusa Babangida, and recovered 1,238 stolen bags of wheat along with the truck and a bus used in carrying out the crime.

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The recovered bags of wheat have been returned to the World Food Programme, and efforts are in top gear to recover the missing 602 bags of wheat and arrest the other suspects associated with the crime.

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun has re-emphasized the goal of the Nigeria Police to ensure that individuals engaged in activities aimed at sabotaging the economy of the country and entrenching hardships among the vulnerable members of the public are ardently dealt with in line with extant laws.

He has therefore ordered that the suspects be charged to court upon conclusion of investigations and tying of all lose ends.

Similarly, the Nigeria Police Force, as part of its intensified efforts to curb the illegal oil theft and economic sabotage in the country and in conjunction with the military and other relevant security agencies, has been in active liaison on intelligence sharing and collaboration with Private Security Contractors (PSCs) engaged by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) particularly Tantita Security Services.

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Adejobi in a statement weekend further noted that efforts led to the arrest of forty (40) suspected individuals and recovery of two (2) Vessels in two different interceptions at the Ogbogoro Oil Field, Brass Area, and Ekeni Area of Southern-Ijaw in Bayelsa State, for conspiracy, tampering with oil pipeline, illegal transportation of crude oil, dealing in crude and storing same without lawful authority or appropriate license amongst others.

The suspects were apprehended and subjected to investigation having established a prima facie case against them.

“They will be arraigned in court to face charges related to economic sabotage and oil theft which have been filed. Similarly, Vessels used in the illegal activities have been seized as part of the evidence against the suspects.

“Specifically, arraignment for suspects involved in the case of one of the Vessels is scheduled for 26th February, 2024 while the motion for interim forfeiture of the Vessel and products contained therein will be heard on 19th February, 2024.

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However, preliminary investigations have indicted numerous individuals and companies including their foreign collaborators who will in due course be interrogated and caused to face the full wrath of the law.

The Inspector-General of Police has therefore urged the public to be vigilant and report all suspicious activities related to oil theft and economic sabotage to the NPF, in line with its mandate as enshrined in Section 4 (d) of the Police Act 2020 empowering the Police to enforce all laws without any prejudice to the enabling Act of other security agencies.

The IGP stressed that the Police is committed to improved synergy with all relevant stakeholders including other government security agencies towards putting an end to the illegal activities of oil theft and economic sabotage in the country and will continue to intensify its strategies and operations to curb same, while not hesitating to bring to justice any individual or group involved in such illegal activities.