Navy Detains, Presents Tompolo-led Tantita Guards as Oil Thieves

The Nigerian Navy arrests and parades some Tantita Security Service guards as crude oil thieves, raising questions about the collaboration

In a recent operation, the Nigerian Navy arrested and paraded some members of the Tompolo-led Tantita Security Service on charges of crude oil theft.

This incident was reported by Punch, revealing that the Nigerian Navy stationed at the Forward Operation Base (FOB) Lekki responded to distress calls from residents near the Itolu community, Lekki, about gunshots heard from the waterside.

The Navy Statement

Commodore Kolawole Oguntuga, the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, provided a detailed account of the event.

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He narrated that the naval forces arrested the men while they were attacking a local resident and attempting to steal a boat engine.

Detailed Account of the Incident

On August 29, 2023, at dawn, FOB Lekki naval forces promptly reacted to a distress call regarding an oil theft attempt near Itolu community.

Lekki, Lagos State. Local youths reported hearing gunshots in the vicinity.

Naval patrol teams immediately launched a response operation upon reviewing the information.

At the scene, the naval team encountered four individuals dressed in black polo shirts with ‘TANTITA’ inscribed on the back, attempting to recover a dismantled outboard engine from a local.

The team reclaimed the engine and caught the four Tantita staff involved.

Following the arrest, the patrol unit found out that the detained individuals were connected to a bigger scheme with a large wooden boat and two fiber boats, all tied to crude oil theft.

The arrested individuals signaled the two fiber boats to approach them, but when the boats noticed the Navy patrol teams, they altered their courses, fled away, and abandoned the large wooden boat laden with 11 x 1000L Geepee tanks filled with a product suspected to be stolen crude oil.

Arrested Individuals and Investigation

The arrested individuals were identified as Asonja Goddey (28), Obajimi Oluwaseyifunmi (38), Awoowo Aribo (35), and Oluwadaisi Balogun (40), all from Igbokoda in Ondo State.Ishola Ojubuyi (42), the boat owner they were attempting to coerce, was also detained.

The Nigerian Navy initiated an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident, particularly the possession of firearms used in the community, economic sabotage, how the product came from Ondo State to Lagos State, and the attempt to steal a boat engine from the locals.

Tantita Employees and Further Actions

Additionally, one Mr. Owoyele Omotuyi, identified as a Tantita staff member, came to secure the release of the apprehended individuals, claiming they were Tantita employees.

All suspects, along with seized evidence, will be transferred to relevant agencies for necessary legal proceedings and actions.

The Tantita Statement

Tantita’s Ondo State CoordinatorHe also alleged Navy involvement.

Navy Accusations
“In the western Niger Delta, a distressing event unfolded as Nigerian Navy arrested four Tantita security guards in the Ondo/Ogun Zone.

This occurred after the Tantita guards had effectively captured a wooden vessel containing crude oil.

This afternoon, the Navy security initially paraded a wooden vessel loaded with crude oil but later released the vessel, fully loaded with crude oil by some oil thieves.

Meanwhile, Tantita security guards monitored the situation and eventually targeted the vessel upon uncovering that Navy officers had been bribed to assist its navigation.

This notorious act by the Navy officers provoked the Tantita guards in the area to pursue the vessel, which they later succeeded in arresting.

To our astonishment, the vessel owners fled only to return with Nigerian Navy officers from the Dangote Refinery, leading to…

in a conflict and finally, the Navy officers attacked my men, later arresting four of the Tantita security guards from the Ondo zone and setting free the wooden vessel.”

Past Collaborations

It should be noted that since 2022, the Tantita Security has uncovered several hot spots for crude oil theft alongside the Nigerian Navy across the oil-producing regions of the Niger Delta.

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What was the role of the Tantita Security Service in this incident?

The Tantita Security Service claimed that its guards were trying to apprehend the real culprits who owned the wooden vessel laden with crude oil. However, the Nigerian Navy arrested and paraded some Tantita guards as crude oil thieves.

Who are the accused and their charges?

The accused individuals are Asonja Goddey, Obajimi Oluwaseyifunmi, Awoowo Aribo, Oluwadaisi Balogun, and Ishola Ojubuyi. They face charges of crude oil theft, economic sabotage, and attempting to steal a boat engine from a local resident.

What is the response of the Tantita Security Service to the arrests?

The Tantita Security Service, through its Ondo State Coordinator, Idowu Asonja, defended the arrested staff and accused the Navy of complicity in the case. They claim that the Navy officers were paid to guide the vessel, which provoked the Tantita guards to pursue and arrest the vessel.

What’s next for the detainees?

The Nigerian Navy is investigating. All suspects, along with seized evidence, will be given to the relevant authorities for legal proceedings.

Impact on Nigerian Navy and Tantita Security?

This incident questions Navy’s integrity and ties with firms like Tantita. A thorough, unbiased probe is crucial. It emphasizes united efforts to combat oil theft and economic harm.

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