The Nigerian Navy said it is hoping to get the necessary legal backing to prosecute oil bunkerers and other associated crimes being carried along the Cross River State water ways.
Acting Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Commodore Priston Efedue Made the revelation when the operations controller, Department of Petroleum Resources DPR, Calabar filed office, Mr. George Ene-Ita paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
According to Commodore Efedue ” we have been arresting and we will still arrest. When we arrest and after the necessary processes, we hand over to the various agencies, sometimes Police, EFCC or Civil Defence depending on the kind of offence committed. Aft that we try to follow and what we observe sometimes is that these criminals are sometimes given a slap in the wrist. I mean a situation where you arrest someone with a vessel loaded with stolen petroleum products, only for that person to be taken to court and then asked to pay N20k or N30k is so discouraging to the men who risk thier lives to make the arrest in the first place”
” Another thing is that the DPR should try and see how they can get these Petroleum products we confiscate and return back to the federal government instead of burning the products which at the end is a loss to the government and dangerous to the environment”
Earlier, the operations controller, George Ene-Ita said the purpose of his visit was to familiarize with the command in other to achieve the cooperate objective of DPR.
Mr. Ita who described the visit as the most educating and inspiring, noted that perhaps it is as a result of the direct contact the Nigerian Navy faces. Highlight of the visit was exchange of gifts.