As part of efforts to stem the tide of criminal activities in the maritime sector, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Nigerian Navy have agreed to partner on oil theft protection.
The duo accepted to review strategies that would hasten the fight against oil bunkering activities and other maritime-related issues happening in the country.
The Zonal Head of the Lagos office of EFCC, AbdulRasheeed Bawa, resolved that the partnership would be an added advantage to the commission, since the sister agency is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the high sea, stressing that the collaboration would enable both commission work hand in hand.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to Commodore Ibrahim Aliyu Shetima, Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship, NSS BEECROFT, Apapa Lagos, on Monday, Bawa disclosed that the anti-graft agency is mandated to prosecute arrested suspects for illegal dealings in petroleum products and other maritime-related crimes and it has lived up to its billings.
Bawa, who conveyed the regards of the acting Chairman, Umar Mohammed, to Shetimma, acknowledged the existing cooperation and working relationship between the commission and the Navy, noted that the duo can join hands together in curtailing the activities of criminals in the maritime industry
The Lagos Zonal Head gave an update on the progress of the cases handed over to the EFCC Lagos Zonal Office, added that they have recorded a 90 per cent success rate in court cases which he said would not have been possible without the ties between both parties.
“Out of the 46 cases handed over to the Commission in the course of the collaboration, 22 of them have been completed successfully, including 17 vessels and their products forfeited to the Federal Government after diligent investigation and prosecution, while 18 others are at advanced stages of prosecution in various courts”.
Bawa further expressed the readiness of the Commission to look into whatever challenges that might be hindering the speedy prosecution of suspects over illegal oil deals, adding that “the Commission would continue to strategize and be more proactive in the investigation of cases handed over to it so as to ensure that products in the vessels are evacuated promptly.”
On his part, Shettima expressed gratitude over the visit, saying that he was impressed by the progress of the Commission so far, on the prosecution of maritime-related offenders.
“We appreciate your efforts and timely intervention in the evacuation of suspects and prompt prosecution.
“Globally, maritime resources are important and Nigeria is not an exemption. We must continue to work together to protect the industry and curtail the activities of the criminals.”