Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT apprehended four individuals on August 29, 2023, on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 11,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil into Lagos.
The suspects, reportedly affiliated with Tantita Security Limited, were identified as Asonja Goddey, 28, Obajimi Oluwaseyifunmi, 38, Awoowo Aribo, 35, and Oluwadaisi Balogun, 40, and were arrested near Itolu Community in Ibeju Lekki on the waterways.
The Chief Security Officer (CSO) of Tantita Security Limited, Owoyele Omotuyi, was also detained by the Navy after attempting to secure the suspects’ release on bail.
The Nigerian Navy’s swift response was triggered by a distress call from Itolu community members, who reported sounds of gunshots and an alleged hijacking of an outboard engine boat belonging to one Ishola Ojubuyi, 42.
Commander Kolawole Oguntuga of NNS Beechcroft stated that the suspects, dressed in black tees bearing the inscription “Tantita,” were apprehended while trying to recover a dismantled outboard engine from a local resident.
Oguntuga said: “The team recovered the engine and apprehended the four Tantita employees. It was after this arrest that the Patrol Team realised that the four individuals were part of the movement of a large wooden boat with two fibre boats.
“The four arrested individuals beckoned on the two fibre boats to approach them, but when they noticed NN patrol teams, the boats altered courses, fled, and abandoned the large wooden boat laden with 11 x 1000-liter Geepee tanks with products suspected to be stolen crude oil.
The Nigerian Navy has 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 to Lagos State, as well as attempting to steal a boat engine from the locals.