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‘EFCC Detention of Our Operations Chief Designed To Reverse Crude Theft War’ – Tompolo


The alleged detention of the Executive Director, Operations and Technical of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has effectively put in the reverse the federal government’s commitment to end the nation’s embarrassing massive crude oil stealing.

The management of Tantita which made above charge when it raised the alarm about Enisuoh’s arrest and detention since Thursday,  further alleged that the EFCC is demanding to know the sources of the security firm’s intelligence deployed in combating crude smuggling, which in the past few weeks has gotten international attention about its positive impacts.

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The security company which belongs to a former commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, recently bagged the pipeline surveillance contract award.

The development which appears to agrees with local official maxim that ‘corruption is fighting back’ is coming at a time Nigeria’s crude production quota just received a positive quota recovery, in addition to rejuvenating the global crude trade index with a mitigating influence on the otherwise volatile crude market, believed to have experienced production fluctuations due to the inability of OPEC member nations to maintain a stable supply margin.

Management of Tantita Security Limited in a statement made available to our reporter; say the action of the EFCC may not be unconnected with criminal collusion with high heel individuals and other interests groups behind the crude theft.

According to the firm, the plan is to stall the progress made so far, particularly to obstruct the prospect of identifying faces behind some of the biggest crude smuggling deals; one of which the security firm claim was in the process of bursting before the EFCC struck.

The statement reads: “On the 19th of January 2023, Tantita’s Executive Director Operations and Technical Capt. Warredi Enisuohwas invited by the EFCC and detained. He has been in EFCC custody since. All efforts to ensure his release has proved abortive, as the Commission has insisted that unless he provides a list of names who were his intelligence sources he would not be released.

“The EFCC’s invitation came right in the middle of an ongoing operation to unravel one of the biggest oil stealing cartels in this country. Capt Warredi Enisuoh, our ED Operations and Technical flew straight from Port Harcourt (where he was coordinating the operations) to Lagos to heed the EFCC’s invitation and walked right into a trap.

“Tantita has been in the news for the amazing progress being made in returning Nigeria to pride of place as the leading oil producer in Africa. However, as we speak, efforts are being made to strangulate Tantita operations.”

Sadly, the EFCC which Tantita accused of playing to the gallery has reportedly denied keeping the security expert, who is believed to have been having a running battle with chieftains of the EFCC over alleged oppression and conflict of interests; in view of the security expert’s pending case with the Commission.

A news report by the Punch newspaper on Sunday, January 22, 2023 said “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said it has no knowledge of the alleged detention of the Executive Director, Operations and Technical of Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, Warredi Enisuoh.”

Tracing the genesis of Capt. Enisuoh’s trouble, Tantita confirmed that although he was arrested and charged to court by EFCC between 2015\2016 for alleged fraud in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the company claimed Capt. Enisuoh has so far won all the cases preferred against him, except one that is still pending at a Federal High Court Lagos.

“Sometime in 2015/2016, the EFCC commenced 4 cases against Capt Warredi and several others. Of the four, three have been concluded, all in favour of CaptWarredi. The last one is presently ongoing before Honourable Justice Faji of the Federal High Court Lagos. Before these cases were instituted, the EFCC issued orders to various banks to block all Capt Enisuoh’s bank accounts.

“He challenged this administrative order in court on the basis that the EFCC has no power to freeze accounts without a court order and the Federal High Court lifted the freeze orders. The banks failed to comply, so he brought contempt proceedings against them, somehow the new judge handling the contempt proceedings froze the accounts again.

“Capt Warredi appealed to the Court of Appeal who overturned the 2nd judge and restored the orders of the first judge. Based on that judgment of the Court of Appeal in CA/L/1320/2016 delivered on 25/11/2017 the banks allowed Capt Warredi access to his accounts. The EFCC which was the 1st Respondent before the Court of Appeal in that case never appealed the judgment.”

The statement continues:

“Then in September 2022, one month after Tantita began operations, the EFCC invited Capt Warredi and asked him how he gained access to the accounts. He showed them certified true copies of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, they also asked him to make statements, which he did and pointed out that the questions bordered on the ongoing trial before the Federal High Court Lagos, the investigating team led by Mr. Lawal Aminu claimed to be unaware of the case, so he provided a certified true copy of the charge and pointed out that the prosecution was being led by Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, a staff of the EFCC. He declined to make further statements on a matter (that is) sub judice.”

It is not only curious that EFCC opted to reopen its case with the security firm’s chief operations driver at a time the security firm is tightening the noose on crude oil thieves, the allegation of senior officers of the Commission questioning the ruling of a competent court of jurisdiction is capable of creating fear and confusion in the country.

Narrating the development, Tantita further stated, “However as the war against oil thieves firmed up many of them have continued to threaten that those trying to stop their nefarious business would pay dearly for it. For the avoidance of doubt, the judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered in 2017, more than 5 years ago.

“Again, Capt Warredi is undergoing a full trial, would it not be better to let the courts decide who is right and who is wrong? Apparently not so for the EFCC investigation team and the legal department being led by Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN. The same Rotimi whose wife became a staff of Search and Rescue Clinic of NIMASA at the very time he was leading investigation and prosecution of “criminals” at NIMASA.

“Maybe it was all coincidence, just the way it is coincidence that in the middle of the biggest investigation of a ship owning oil stealing cartel, the EFCC is asking Capt Warredi to name his intelligence sources.”

The security company alleged that the EFCC is on a mission of self destruct and gross judicial abuse through the display of executive rascality.

“In spite of all the documents earlier provided to EFCC, on Thursday the 19th of January 2023, the EFCC again invited Capt Warredi and detained him. Their position was that Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN had read the judgment of the Court of Appeal and he did not agree with the decision of the Appeal Court. That he believes that the Court was wrong and as such Capt Warredi should refund the money withdrawn from his accounts or he would rot in jail – 5 years after the Court of Appeal settled the issue, without complain from the EFCC.”

Lamenting, Tantina in its stament added, “The most dangerous entity in a democracy is a law enforcement agency that has no regards for the rule of law. Such an organization is open to institutional capture and to being used as a tool in the hands of those seeking to destroy the nation.

“According to Mr. Lawal Aminu, in the opinion of Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Capt Warredi after obtaining judgment at the Court of Appeal should have come to beg the EFCC to permit him to access his accounts and his failure to do so was criminal. According to Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, it is when the EFCC becomes aware of a judgment that it takes effect and since the EFCC was not informed by Capt Warredi before he accessed his accounts, he is guilty of interfering with the subject matter of investigation – the charge they intend to prefer on Monday 23rd of January 2023. It is on this trumped up allegation that the EFCC has detained Capt Warredi for more than the 24 hours constitutionally allowed.

“Initially the EFCC dangled bail before Capt Warredi on the condition he divulged the names of persons who were paid out of the accounts. Capt Warredi pointed out that in addition to the fact that the matter was presently undergoing trial in court, the persons concerned were intelligence assets who provided valuable intelligence and need to be protected.”

The statement continues: “Moreover, some of these people are still providing intelligence in our ongoing operations at Tantita. Compromising their details will not only blow their cover but interfere with the ongoing war against oil thieves.

“Because Capt Warredi refused to divulge name of intelligence assets the EFCC refused to release him or grant him bail (even though he was already on bail before a Court of law, as well as on administratively before the EFCC since the 6th of September 2022). They have continued to hold him claiming he is being uncooperative.”

The security firm notes that the actions of EFCC notwithstanding, it would continue to execute its mandate to frustrate the nation’s crude thieves and their sympathizers; even as it called on Nigerians to be aware of plots to reverse the gains already made.

“While Tantita is determined to carry on the fight against the oil thieves regardless, it is our position that the EFCC investigation, if genuine, can be carried out with minimal interference to the war on oil thieves and if not, it is clearly being used by powerful forces to scuttle the war on oil thieves. Let Nigerians be aware of what is being done in their name.”

The statement signed by a member of the company’s communications department, Mr . Olufemi  Agha, claimed that Capt. Enisuoh is critical to the execution of the N48bn pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Tompolo by the Federal Government on September 2022.

Tantita says it has so far uncovered over 58 illegal tapping points used by crude oil thieves in Delta and Bayelsa States. The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, stated that Nigeria lost between 700,000 to 900,000 barrels of oil per day to crude oil theft, leading to about 29 to 35 per cent loss in oil revenue in the first quarter of 2022.

Efforts by our reporter to get EFCC reaction on the matter proved abortive as its public relations officer, Mr. Wilson Uwujera did not pick his telephone when our reporter called him. He did not also respond to a text message sent to him regarding the issue, as at the time of going to press.

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