TSL demands immediate release of personnel arrested, detained
The security outfit belonging to Chief Government Ekpemupolo popularly known as Tompolo -Tantita Security Services (TSL) Nigeria Limited, has urged the Nigerian Navy to immediately release four of its personnel arrested and detained for days.
TSL in a statement issued in Abuja, said that continued detention by the Nigerian Navy of its men “who risked their lives on the high seas to protect Nigeria’s commonwealth was a disservice to the nation.”
The security firm said it was clearing the air over the incident at the Lekki area of Lagos involving its operatives and some Nigerian Navy personnel on August 29.
The firm explained that its personnel who were on the trail of the suspected oil thieves were arrested and detained for carrying out their lawful duty.
The Nigerian Navy had stated that Tantita patrol team was arrested following the realization that the four individuals arrested were part of the movement of a large wooden boat laden with 11 x 1000L Geepee tanks with product suspected to be stolen crude oil.
Giving its side of the story, TSL explained that its eight-man patrol team operating in Ondo State received credible intelligence that a motorized wooden boat was illegally loading crude oil from an offshore Oil Well Jacket operated by Cavendish Nigeria Limited, where the MT TURA II was caught stealing crude oil a few months ago.
It stated that an advance team was dispatched to find the wooden boat while a back-up team of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps was assembled to follow through on the lead.
The TSL backed with a video of the incident further said that the advance team with the help of local fishermen was able to determine that the motorized wooden boat was heading in the direction of Lagos and gave hot pursuit.
It stated, “Upon noticing the approaching Tantita teams, the crew of the motorized wooden boat abandoned the wooden boat for their speed boat. One team of Tantita and NSCDC personnel boarded the wooden boat to secure the evidence while another team gave hot pursuit.
“There is video evidence of the Tantita team together with NSCDC personnel. There is also evidence of the Tantita and GSA team giving chase to the crew of the boat.”
The Navy is a constitutional institution mandated to keep Nigeria’s seaward borders safe from invasion, criminality and free for economic activities. Tantita respects the institution and its constitutional mandate. And it was out of that respect that a couple weeks ago, when there was a face-off between the service and Tantita over the MT Praisel, our organization preferred to leave the Nigerian Navy to have the last word on the issue.”
“It was our belief at the time that the matter was a misunderstanding which could have been better handled for the good of the nation and the common objective of Tantita and the Navy, the prevention of economic sabotage by oil thieves plying their nefarious trade on our nation’s waterways.
“However, the present incident coming barely three weeks after, does not seem to support that notion. What seems to be playing is a poorly written tragicomedy.
”If indeed Tantita personnel were stealing crude with a boat, why did they need to abandon their wooden boat laden with crude oil, tens of nautical miles away from the crime scene to recover a dismantled outboard engine when the wooden boat had working engines?
“In one breathe, the Nigerian Navy said Tantita employees were caught trying to steal an outboard engine and in another breathe, they said Tantita operatives were arrested for trying to forcibly employ the owner of the boat to do their bidding.
“As soon as these men were arrested, the management of Tantita reached out to Nigerian Navy seeking clarification of the situation. For four days, the Navy said they were investigating and that the men would be released.”
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