Oil theft: Arrested Ex-minister's firm threatens to sue NIMASA


Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd, alleged to be involved in oil theft, has threatened to sue Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over the closure of its tank farm, even as its arrested chairman was freed today.

Officials of the company said in Lagos on Saturday that the firm would go to court to resolve issues relating to closure of tank farm on Friday.

Security personnel from NIMASA and Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd (GWVSL), the company that provides maritime security platforms, also arrested Capt. Emmanuel Ihenacho, a former Minister of Interior and Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd. He was freed by the SSS.

GWVSL is executing a contract worth 103.4 million dollars for the supply of 20 vessels for the use of NIMASA and the military to secure the waterways.

The alleged stolen petroleum product was said to have been transported to the tank farm by MT Grace, an oil vessel.

When contacted on telephone, the Deputy Director, Public Relations in NIMASA, Mrs Lami Tumaka, told NAN on Saturday that the ex-minister had been handed over to the State Security Service (SSS).

A reliable source in the company, however, told NAN that the management of Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd. was set to take NIMASA to court over the allegation.

The source, who preferred anonymity, told NAN that the issue would have to be resolved in court.

“We would go to court. We definitely have to go to court because for NIMASA to have sealed the depot would affect every other customer,’’ the source told NAN.

The source said that the tank farm was a large facility and with the large space, the management had enough space for other customers who stored their products in the premises.

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The source said that a tenant that brought the petroleum product, PDR Nigeria Ltd, a subsidiary of Capital Plc., paid rents to the management of Integrated Oil and Gas for storage.

The source further said that before petroleum products could be cleared, the Navy, NIMASA, Customs, Nigerian Ports Authority and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) must have given the importer the approval and clearance to import and discharge the cargo.

The source told NAN that “if any customer decides to bring his products to the premises, the management of Integrated Oil and Gas charges storage fees based on agreement.’’

The source described Ihenacho as a man of integrity, who had come a long way and a man who stood by the truth.

On Saturday, armed security men were still at the gate of the tank farm.

Mr Okorie Chukwu, a customer of the company, recalled the drama that took place when the security personnel made attempts to go inside the depot on Friday.

“My truck was about to be loaded with the diesel that I had requested for since last week when the leader of the security personnel said that they should stop operation,’’ he said.

Chukwu urged parties involved in the matter to resolve it amicably so that operations would resume at the depot.

Another customer, Mr. Biodun Olaore, said that he had been waiting to load his truck since the beginning of the week but all his efforts failed.

Olaore called on the Federal Government to resolve the crisis to reduce the suffering of customers at the depot. (NAN)

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