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Navy operatives, Tompolo firm fight over seized illegal oil vessel

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Operatives of the Nigeria Navy clashed with a joint team of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and Tanita Security Service Limited, which is owned by ex-militant commander Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, on Thursday.

According to a military source, the combined security team was on a routine patrol of Ondo State’s coastal waters when they detained a vessel suspected of stealing petroleum from a wellhead on the shore.

It was also revealed that as the combined squad approached the vessel, they discovered that there were Naval officers on board.

The Navy officers were said to have prevented the combined team from accosting the vessel despite “a request by the NNPC that the vessel be moved to the NNPC jetty at Oporoza for a joint inspection.”

The source said, “Operatives of Tantita Security Services Limited, the Nigerian Army, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps have arrested a massive vessel in the coastal waters of Ondo State.

“A suspected vessel was sighted off the coast of Ondo State while loading crude from a wellhead.

“A combined team of soldiers, men of the NSDC, and Tantita operatives accosted the vessel, which had naval personnel on board.

“The naval personnel refused a request by the NNPC that the vessel be moved to the NNPC jetty at Oporoza for a joint inspection.

The source added, “Operatives of Tantita Security Services Limited, the Nigerian Army, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps have arrested a massive vessel in the coastal waters of Ondo State.

“A suspected vessel was sighted off the coast of Ondo State while loading crude from a wellhead.

“A combined team of soldiers, men of the NSDC, and Tantita operatives accosted the vessel, which had naval personnel on board.

“The naval personnel refused a request by the NNPC that the vessel be moved to the NNPC jetty at Oporoza for a joint inspection.

However, in a statement issued Thursday night by the Navy’s spokesperson, Adedotun Ayo-Vaughanon, the Tantita’s crew was accused of engaging in illegal operations and raising a false alert after the vessel was apprehended.

He said, “Furthermore, it is believed that Tantita Security Service is involved in these illegalities because the Awoye riverine area, which is close to the place of arrest, is covered by TSS.

“Again, it was upon the arrest of the vessel by the Nigerian Navy that TSS began to raise false alarms, totally unfounded and indeed mischievous.

“Nonetheless, the Nigerian Navy remains resolute in the pursuit of her constitutional mandate for the protection of Nigeria’s maritime environment for national economic development and prosperity.”

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