On Saturday, November 20, 2021, the media was awash with the information of the arrest of eight suspected unlawful oil thieves within the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State by a joint patrol workforce of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigeria Police Force and a purported Niger Delta Security and Surveillance (NDSS).
On the floor, the information seems as one which exhibits concerted efforts by safety brokers and an indigenous safety agency to fight the problems of oil theft and piracy on the Niger Delta excessive seas, however past the floor lies one thing extra sinister, totally different sources instructed SaharaReporters.
In the report, a safety outfit, the Niger Delta Security and Surveillance (NDSS) group was prominently talked about with one Chief Job Omotuwa recognized as its operations supervisor.
Omotuwa had claimed NDSS arrested the 4 suspects in 4 boats loaded with drums of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) at Abereke within the Ilaje.
“A vessel was equally arrested by NDSS when the suspects embarked on the same illegal dealings in petroleum products business on the high sea,” he was quoted as saying.
But sources instructed SaharaReporters that these arrested had been rivals of Omotuwa and his set of oil thieves within the space described as ‘notorious Niger Delta criminals’.
They puzzled why an unregistered and ghost firm just like the NDSS owned by Omotuwa grew to become accountable for seaway patrols and arrests of unlawful vessels on the excessive seas.
A search of the agency’s title on Nigeria’s company registry (https://search.cac.gov.ng/) by SaharaReporters returned no matching consequence.
Similarly, a easy search on Google indicated that the agency had not been talked about on any newspaper or weblog earlier than the stated date.
“He, Omotuwa is the number one oil bunker in the area, he claims to have an Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) license for surveillance of pipelines in riverine areas which is false,” a supply stated.
“It is important to note that prior to these reports, the NDSS was virtually non-existent. It is surprising how an unregistered ghost company like the NDSS became responsible for seaway patrol and arresting illegal vessels on the high seas.
“But what is much more surprising is how Omotuwa and his NDSS outfit secured the partnership of the NSCDC (Civil Defence) and police to carry out the illegality.
“Check the story, you will see him saying ‘as partners in progress with the security agencies statutorily empowered by law to investigate and prosecute such crime, we have handed the suspects, boats and drums of AGO to NSCDC in Ondo State’.
“He also said the NDSS remains a disciplined, dedicated and law-abiding team and we will not relent in discharging our duties in collaboration and synergy with the security agencies on board. Imagine, partners in progress in criminality? Collaboration with security agencies on board?
“Is it even the job description of the police and civil defence to embark on highway patrols and combating piracy? Yet, they went on so-called joint patrol with a criminal and his gang.
“Subsection 4, paragraph 1(a) of the Armed Forces Act of 1994 vests in the Navy the power to; enforcing and assisting in co-ordinating the enforcement of all customs, laws, including anti-bunkering, fishery and immigration laws of Nigeria at sea.
“Enforcing and assisting in co-ordinating the enforcement of national and international maritime laws ascribed or acceded to by Nigeria; making of charts and co-ordinating of all national hydrographic surveys; and promoting, co-ordinating and enforcing safety regulations in the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria.
“From the above provisions of the law, it is clear that the responsibilities of coordinating all security operations on the sea are residual in the navy.
“What informed the NSCDC and Police decision to carry out joint patrols with an ‘unregistered’ NDSS on the high seas is a question only they can answer.
“Though, we are in support of those arrested but Omotuwa as well poses a greater threat to the peace and stability of the Niger Delta region than those arrested.
“I have a a security memo sent to the Ondo State government exposing his personality. Beyond the whitewashed image of a freedom fighter and security consultant, this memo exposed how Omotuwa and his gang kidnapped an expatriate in Lagos State.
“The Lagos State Command sent a signal to it’s Ondo counterpart on the abduction of this expatriate by Omotuwa then. He was also said to have conducted several attacks on vessels on the high sea.
“On the the 28th of October, 2021, security operatives during a routine patrol in Abereke arrested some heavily armed men believed to be working with same Omotuwa, while recovering in the process arms and ammunition, walkie-talkies, speedboats with outboard engines and other items, which were handed over to the Navy.
“These men confessed to being responsible for the kidnap of many high-profile individuals upon interrogation. Eventually, Same Job Omotuwa was apprehended by Nigeria Army (19 Batallion) Okitipupa on the same day while he was trying to escape from his hideout.
“He was freed days later after allegedly claiming he has a license to patrol the high seas and, of course, greasing some palms. He had since returned to his former ways with the latest media report of the arrest of oil bunkers believed to be the latest in his series of illegal activities.
“During his media fanfare, Omotuwa had warned that ‘all economic saboteurs would be made to face the full wrath of the law,’ a claim many described as laughable because Omotuwa himself is a chief economic saboteur.”
Another supply stated, “While the media reported the 20th of November, 2021 incident as a classic case of arresting illegal oil bunkers. I can tell you that the incident led to the death of about 2 police officers, left a civil defence and another police officer in critical condition as the armed vessel returned fire.
“The incident is a wake-up call to government at all levels and security agents to divert attention to Omotuwa’s alleged criminal activities and forestall a breakdown of the fragile peace in the Niger Delta region.
“Known criminals with track record of kidnapping, maiming and piracy should not be allowed to roam freely on water ways.”
Calls put throughout by SaharaReporters to Omotuwa weren’t answered nor returned. WhatsApp and textual content messages despatched to his line had been additionally not replied to as on the time of submitting this report.