On Wednesday, Tantita Security Services, a private security company owned by Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), an ex-Niger Delta agitator, reportedly intercepted a vessel in the Koko area of Delta State. The vessel, allegedly carrying stolen crude oil, was being escorted by naval officers and was carrying approximately 8,100 barrels of crude, totaling 1,117 tons. Tompolo’s security outfit had recently obtained a contract from the Federal Government to safeguard oil pipelines.
Tantita Security operatives reported that they intercepted a vessel named MT Praisel, flying a Togolese flag and escorted by a Navy boat led by a senior naval commander. The Navy boat allegedly resisted the Tantita operatives’ inspection, with the commander issuing threats. Despite this, the private operatives persisted and sought authorization from National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu and Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, who granted permission to inspect the vessel.
Upon inspection, they found that the vessel had Navy authorization for carrying products but lacked approval from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) for this particular voyage.
The interception of the vessel follows the Federal Government’s concern about the illegal trade of stolen crude oil, causing considerable economic losses amounting to N2.3 trillion in a year. This loss could potentially affect up to 25% of the country’s crude oil production.
Additionally, the removal of petrol subsidy triggered nationwide demonstrations by workers’ unions. Recently, Asari Dokubo, another ex-Niger Delta agitator, disclosed to journalists after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the State House that some corrupt military officers are implicated in the theft of Nigeria’s crude oil.
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