- NNPCL approved security agents have captured crude oil thieves disguised as sewage transporters in Warri, Delta state.
- The security outfit that made the arrest belongs to former militant, Tompolo.
- The crude oil thieves were arrested on Friday, May 12, after two weeks of intelligence gathering and monitoring.
- The four crude oil thieves have been handed over to the armed forces.
Crude oil thieves disguised as sewage transporters have been captured by private security operatives. This is according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited. According to NNPCL, the crude oil thieves were captured by Tantita Security Services Limited, lifting crude from an asset belonging to NNPCL.
Before the capture
Two weeks ago, the security outfit received intelligence reports about the activities of the crude oil thieves who were pretending to transport sewage while stealing crude oil. The security operatives found out that a 1,000 metric ton capacity barge was coming to berth alongside its jetty, loaded with illegal crude oil declared as sludge.
According to the Executive Director, Operations and Technical at Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, his team were monitoring the said Jetty for suspicious activities. At this time, it was observed that a sewage truck with Plate No. JR7750XA visited the Jetty twice.
On its third visit on Friday, May 12, the Truck was accosted by the Tantita Security operatives. While inspecting the truck, it was discovered that the substance found inside the tank was not sewage but crude oil. Immediately, the driver was arrested and handed over to the armed forces. Captain Enisuoh said:
- “The driver later revealed the destination of the contents, which took us to another yard inland, operated by Mawe Services Limited. Within the Mawe Services Limited’s premises, there were two metallic cylindrical tanks of about 45,000 liters capacity, each.
- “Both tanks were inspected, and one was found to be filled up with Crude Oil. An inspection of the Yard Security logbook showed that the truck visited the location severally and the contents of the truck were well spelt out as “crude”.
According to Captain Enisuoh, the stolen crude oil would be stored at a barge and then transferred to illegal refineries with smaller vehicles for processing into petrol and diesel.
What you should know
It is important to note that Mawe Services Limited had an approval from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to provide services within the confines of lifting sludge. However, the location was being used for activities outside the company’s approval limits.
- Recall that in 2022, the Federal Government contracted Tantita, a security outfit belonging to former militant, Tompolo to protect oil and gas assets in the Niger Delta region, as a measure to reduce crude oil theft.
There’s a certain poetic irony to the fact that these crude thieves resorted to disguising stolen oil as sewage. However, it’s likely that only the lower-level individuals involved in the theft were caught, while those who truly orchestrated and profited from it remain at large.
Oil has had a tremendous impact on Nigeria’s economy, politics, and moral landscape since gaining independence. Yet, it’s analogous to a toxic contaminant, like sewage, that should be purged from every aspect of the country before it destroys us.