Four persons who confessed to be operatives of Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL) have been arrested by the Nigerian Navy in Lagos for attempted oil theft.
Militarynewsng.com reports that Tantita Security Services Limited is a private security outfit owned by former Niger Delta agitator Mr. Government Ekpemupolo, commonly called Tompolo, who recently got a contract from the Federal Government to protect oil pipelines.
Parading the men at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT parade ground, the Commander of the ashore establishment of the force, Commodore Kolawole Oguntuga said aid the men were arrested while harassing some fishermen at a fishing community in Lagos and trying to deposes them of their engine boat.
Confessing to the crime, the arrested personnel of Tantita Security Services Limited said to being they belong to the outfit’s unit in Ondo state and were carrying out duties outside their mandate at the Lagos waters alongside with some officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) when they were arrested.
They told militarynewsng.com that the NSCDC personnel operating with them bolted on sighting the Nigerian Navy patrol vessel, leaving them to their fate.
Speaking further Commodore Oguntuga said the arrest of the men were made possible, following a distress call by residents of the Itolu community, around the Lekki Free trade Zone in Lagos who had raised alarm that some unknown gunmen had swooped on their community trying to steal outboard engines of their boats.
Responding to the distress call, militarynewsng.com learnt, that the Nigerian Navy operatives stationed at its outpost in LEKKI moved in to engage the alleged unknown gunmen and possibly foil the attack by some suspected oil thieves on the waterways near Itolu community.
It was learnt that the incident occurred in the early hours of Tuesday August 29, 2023, when local youths reportedly heard gunshots in the vicinity of the community.
On receipt of the information, according to Commander, naval patrol teams immediately launched a response operation. “Upon arrival at the scene, the naval team met 4 individuals dressed in black polo shirts with TANTITA inscribed at the back of their shirts, trying to recover a dismantled outboard engine from a local.
“The Patrol team recovered the engine and apprehended the 4 Tantita Employees. It was after this arrest that the Patrol Team realized that the 4 individuals are part of a movement of a large wooden boat with 2 fiber boats.
” The 4 arrested individuals beckoned on the 2 fiber boats to approach them but when they noticed Navy patrol teams, the boats altered courses fled away and abandoned the large wooden boat laden with 11 x 1000L Geepee tanks with product suspected to be stolen crude oil.
The arrested individuals have been identified as Asonja Goddey (28), Obajimi Oluwaseyifunmi (38), Awolowo Aribo (35), and Oluwadaisi Balogun (40), all hailing from Igbokoda in Ondo State. The owner of the boat they were trying to forcibly employ, Ishola Ojubuyi (42), was also taken into custody.
He said that the Nigerian Navy has initiated an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident particularly the possession of firearms used in the community, economic sabotage, how the product came from Ondo State to Lagos State as well as attempting to steal a boat engine from the locals.
One Mr Owoyele Omotuyi who was identified as a Tantita staff, came to secure release of the 4 apprehended, claiming they are Tantita employees. All suspects along with the confiscated exhibits, will be handed over to appropriate agencies for further necessary action and prosecution.
The Nigerian Navy under the watch of Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, Chief of the Naval Staff, remains resolute towards ensuring the maritime environment is conducive for legitimate businesses necessary for economic prosperity of the nation.