By Hannah Nathan, Warri
In a bid to rid of crude oil sabotage, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, a pipeline security company owned by renowned Niger Delta Leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo has discovered a sophisticated and advanced approach used by crude oil thieves to continue their illicit enterprise.
This was disclosed by the Executive Director of Operations of Tantita, Capt Waredi Enisuohat in the maiden edition of the MARAN Annual Maritime Lecture (MAMAL 2023) organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) last week Wednesday.
According to him, crude oil thieves in the Niger Delta region had mounted CCTV cameras in the bushes, to warn them ahead of invasion by security operatives.
The director of operations Capt Waredi, who was also a former Director at Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said Tantita had arrested and impounded a lot of such facilities and cameras.
He further narrated how Nigerian crude is stored in Sacks and transported in Keke NAPEP and trucks to beat security operatives, and they are sold across neighbouring states.
Waredi said the functions of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, include protection of oil assets and maritime assets.
According to him, the staff strength of the company is 8,957,000 direct workers,38,221,000 community youths and 21,981,000 intelligence agents.
While addressing the issue of Crude Oil Theft in Nigeria, he said “Most of the oil is locally refined from the Niger Delta, a vessel can bring 10,000tons from Europe and take 60,000tons from Niger Delta and falsify the documents, claiming it is from Europe.
“The transportation of stolen oil is done via ships and trucks, they use the trucks to transport it to neighbouring Cameroon, Niger Republic, Chad and so on, Nigerian oil goes everywhere.
The biggest Nigerians are usually concerned about is ships coming to steal the oil, but it is not only the ships that steal the oil.
“These oil thieves bridge the pipeline and pass the oil through the bottom of a canal and arrange it back. It flows into illegal refineries.
This is not only a Niger Delta thing, it happens everywhere there is oil in Nigeria, from Imo State to Akwa Ibom, Ondo and the rest.
“They sack the crude, they put them in bags, carry them to the waterside for sale. You will be surprised how smart these people are, you will be walking but you can never know that under the ground, tiny pipes have been laid away from the areas.
“The business is not discriminatory at all, even Keke Napep carry the crude. The business is also gender friendly, you will find women and children inside the bush working and contributing their share to the oil theft.
“There are so many people involved, and that is why so many people are against us. The trucks look very benign, you will not suspect anything wrong with them, but when you open the back of the trucks, you will see crude oils in bags.
“As we are apprehending them, they are also changing their game, there is an international ring sponsoring them. The design of the truck is altered, outwards it looks like a truck, but inside, it is a tank.
“If you go to the Niger Delta, at every kilometre, there is a roadblock, but how do these trucks get passed these roadblocks?
“We have chased them from the fields, not they are targeting the wellheads, they connect very long hoses to these wellheads and fetch the crude.
The crude is transported under house foundations, and inside the house is where they fetch the oil directly into trucks and so on.
We have thousands of points like that.
“What they do is that first, they come to Lagos to collect all the right documentation to load oil. They will not take six number plates, get approval for one number, and forge five with the same number, all the trucks have the same documentation with the same number on the trucks.
“They have CCTV Mounted inside the bush, this gives them a warning are coming so that they can prepare for your arrival. We have recovered quite a lot of CCTV cameras inside the bush” Waredi maintained.