A combined team of Nigerian Army in Okitipupa and men of Naval base in Igbokoda in Ondo state yesterday jointly arrested about 16 sea pirate who have been tormenting the waterways with illegal bunkering activities.
The arrest followed a tip off from a private security outfit on waterways, GlobalWest Fleet who had earlier apprehended one of the pirates in Lagos who dealt in illegal activities on the high seas.
The arrest of the boy led to the arrest of 15 others after confessing and leading the security agencies in the area to the house of their kingpin, Aseluwa Oluwariokanmi aka Wazobia, in the early hour of Wednesday.
It was gathered that a large catche of arms and ammunitions was found in the home of the said Oluwariokanmi which confirmed the confession of the Ilaje boy who was earlier arrested and gave the Army and the Navy men the mode of their operation in the area.
According to a source in the Army Barracks, Okitipupa who confirmed the arrest of the sea pirates amd informed that suspects have been moved to the Brigade command headquaters in Benin.
He said the operation took the joint efforts of the men of the Nigeria Army , Navy and the private security outfit three hours before the suspects were arrested.
The said suspects were said to be involved in hijacking of crude oil ship on high seas and selling off the contents.
The source who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that the reports saying the suspects have moved out of Igbokoda to Benin.
All efforts to get in touch with Brigade Commander in Benin, Brigadier General Obi Abel Umahi proved abortive.
But the Peoples Democratic Party in the state yesterday alleged that the kingpin of the suspects, Oluwariokanmi arrested in Igbokoda by the security agents was a Chieftain of the ruling Labour Party in the area.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Akure, the state capital, the Chairman, PDP State Publicity Committee, Hon. Ademola Ijabiyi commended the efforts of the security operatives and calling for proper investigation into the matter saying the suspects must face the wrath of the law.
Ijabiyi said “There is always the tendency to treat this type of crime as a political one and hence settle it out of court. We also know that the LP can go to any length to pervert the course of justice in criminal cases involving its members.”
But the official of the Nigerian Army who spoke with our correspondent dismissed any political undertone in the crime.
However Ijabiyi said the party has unveil some of the plans of the ruling party to engage in the use of arms in some locations within the state to torment opposition.
He said “We must also point out that part of the plan of the Labour Party is to stockpile arms and ammunition in the houses of certain traditional rulers, religious leaders and certain influential individuals who are either members or sympathisers of the Labour Party. They intend to use this to lay siege to the targeted local government areas especially in the reverine areas so that there would be no election in those places.
” That the Labour Party is jittery is not in doubt. On the one hand, its candidate has been losing popularity at a very rapid rate. On the other hand, our Party the PDP has been gaining grounds beyond everyone’s imagination. The LP’s violence is therefore unfortunately a response to this trend but it must not be allowed to continue.”
He however called on security agencies including the National Security Adviser, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of SSS, the Commissioner of Police Ondo State Command, the State Director of SSS, and the entire military authorities in the State to investigate the case, and bring the culprits to book.