Oil Theft: Court orders forfeiture of vessel, MT Kali, Crude to FG

By: Joy Enamuna

…As Tantita Security gets another milestone achievement

A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja has ordered the forfeiture of an illegal crude oil vessel, MT Kali and its content to the Federal Government.

This move which is another major milestone for the Private security outfit, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL), is in collaboration with the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).

Securing this landmark judgement is a first scenario in recent times when oil thieves and their barons are being prosecuted and brought to book as 20 crew members, including community boys’ accomplices, were arrested in the operation.

The police in the Charge NO. FHC/ABJ/CR/18/2024 B/W: INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE V. MT KALI & 22 ORS, had arraigned the vessel and its 22 crew members before the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice J.O. Abdulmalik.

Justice Abdulmalik granted the motion for the interim forfeiture of MT Kali & her content to the Federal Government.

However, the arraignment of the suspects was stalled as they were not produced in the court by the office of the Chief of Defence Staff.

All efforts by the prosecuting counsel to convince the court to issue a production warrant to be served on the military authorities for the production of the defendants on 18th March, 2024 being the next adjournment date or at least the issue of defendants’ summons to be served on the defendants through the military authorities proved abortive.

The court, however, sternly warned that charge may not survive beyond the next adjournment date should. The prosecution not secure attendance of defendants for their arraignment and plea.

Operatives of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited in conjuction with the special security task force set up by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, on January 11th, 2024 arrested the illegal oil bunkering ship.

MT Kail was arrested while siphoning crude oil from Pennington Oil field of the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Bayelsa State.

Although, the case is being prosecuted to logical conclusion in the act of dexterity and patriotic zeal by the operatives of Tantita led by its Executive Director, Operations and Technical Services, Captain Warriedi Enisuoh and a team raised by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun.

Egbetokun had directed the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB) under the command of Mr. Lot Lantoh Garba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, to launch a discreet investigation into the arrest of the bunkering ship.

In a related development, Operatives of Tantita also arrested another illegal bunkering ship MT HARBOR SPIRIT, weeks after, on February 4th 2024. The Moldovian vessel was caught while stealing crude oil from Sengana oilfields in the coastal axis of Bayelsa State.

While investigation and prosecution of the two bunkering ships and their crew members were being diligently coordinated by Capt. Warredi Enisuoh and Head, Investigation, IGP-STPIB, Mr. Omar John Sini, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP). It was gathered that MT Harbor Spirit and members of her crew are to be arraigned in court on Friday, March 1st, 2024.

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