INVESTIGATION: Inside Story Of An Alleged Niger Delta Criminal Who Now Enjoys Security Agents Backing

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INVESTIGATION: Inside Story Of An Alleged Niger Delta Criminal Who Now Enjoys Security Agents Backing - Ijaw News

On Saturday, 20th of November, 2021 the media was awash with the news of the arrest of eight illegal oil bunkers in Ilaje council area of Ondo State by a joint patrol team of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigeria Police Force and a purported Niger Delta Security and Surveillance (NDSS).

On the surface, the news appears as one that shows concerted efforts by security agents and an indigenous security firm to combat the issues of oil bunkering and piracy on the Niger Delta high seas, but beyond the surface lies something more sinister.

IJAW NEWS dug deeper…

The Fictitious NDSS Gang

In the apparently sponsored report that appeared on the 20th November 2021 issues of the VANGUARD and TRIBUNE newspapers, a security outfit, the Niger Delta Security and Surveillance (NDSS) group was prominently mentioned.

A certain Chief Job Omotuwa was identified as the operations manager of the NDSS.

According to sources, Omotuwa claims to have an Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) license for surveillance of pipelines in riverine areas, a claim this newspaper cannot verify as at press time.

More on Job Omotuwa later

It is important to note that prior to these reports, the NDSS was virtually non-existent, a search of the firm’s name on Nigeria’s corporate registry (https://search.cac.gov.ng/) returned no matching result. Similarly, a simple search on Google indicated that the firm had not been mentioned on any media or blog before the said date.

INVESTIGATION: Inside Story Of An Alleged Niger Delta Criminal Who Now Enjoys Security Agents Backing, Ijaw News - Niger Delta Stories
Search result for ‘Niger Delta Security and Surveillance’
INVESTIGATION: Inside Story Of An Alleged Niger Delta Criminal Who Now Enjoys Security Agents Backing, Ijaw News - Niger Delta Stories
Search result for NDSS

It is surprising how an unregistered ghost company like the NDSS became responsible for a seaway patrol and arresting illegal vessels on the high seas

But what is much more surprising is how Omotuwa and his NDSS outfit secured the partnership of the NSCDC (Civil Defence) and Police to carry out the illegality.

The reports quoted Omotuwa as saying “As partners in progress with the security agencies statutorily empowered by law to investigate and prosecute such crime, we have handed the suspects, boats and drums of AGO to NSCDC in Ondo State.

And it gets worse, Omotuwa also said the “NDSS remains a disciplined, dedicated and law-abiding team and we will not relent in discharging our duties in collaboration and synergy with the security agencies on board,”

Partners in progress? Collaboration with security agencies on board?

Another question posed during the course of this investigation is whether or not highway patrols and combating piracy is in the job description of the police and civil defence.

INVESTIGATION: Inside Story Of An Alleged Niger Delta Criminal Who Now Enjoys Security Agents Backing, Ijaw News - Niger Delta Stories
Omotuwa gang members arrested by Gallery Security Ltd in October, 2021

Seaway Patrol; Whose Job?

Subsection 4, paragraph 1(a) of the Armed Forces Act of 1994 vests in the Navy the power to;

(i) enforcing and assisting in coordinating the enforcement of all customs, laws,

including anti-bunkering, fishery and immigration laws of Nigeria at sea;

(ii) enforcing and assisting in coordinating the enforcement of national and

international maritime laws ascribed or acceded to by Nigeria;

(iii) making of charts and co-ordinating of all national hydrographic surveys; and

(iv) promoting, co-ordinating and enforcing safety regulations in the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria;

From the above provisions of the law, it is clear that the responsibilities of coordinating all security operations on the sea are residual in the navy.

What informed the NSCDC and Police decision to carry out joint patrols with an ‘unregistered’ NDSS on the high seas is a question only they can answer.

INVESTIGATION: Inside Story Of An Alleged Niger Delta Criminal Who Now Enjoys Security Agents Backing, Ijaw News - Niger Delta Stories
National Population Commission boat recovered from Omotuwa boys

Job Omotuwa; Hero or Villain?

From what this newspaper has gathered on the person of Job Omotuwa, it appears that Omotuwa poses a greater threat to the peace and stability of the Niger Delta region than the arrested alleged oil bunkers.

A security memo sent to the Ondo State government by a foremost registered and licensed security outfit in the Niger Delta (Gallery Security ltd), seen by IJAW NEWS seems to proffer insight into the personality of Omotuwa.

Beyond the whitewashed image of a freedom fighter and security consultant, the memo exposed how Omotuwa and his gang kidnapped an expatriate in Lagos State.

Credible sources informed this newspaper that the Lagos State Command sent a signal to its Ondo division on the abduction of the expat – who has since been freed.

He was also said to have conducted several attacks on vessels on the high sea.

Gallery Security had on the 28th of October, 2021 during a routine patrol in Abereke arrested some heavily armed men believed to be working for Omotuwa, while recovering in the process arms and ammunition, walkie-talkies, speedboats with outboard engines and other items, which was handed over to the Navy.

His men confessed to being responsible for the kidnap of many high-profile individuals upon interrogation.

Eventually, Job Omotuwa was apprehended by Nigeria Army (19 Batallion) Okitipupa on the same day while he was trying to escape from his hideout.

However, sources told IJAW NEWS that Omotuwa was freed days later after allegedly claiming he has a license to patrol the high seas and, of course, greasing some palms.

He had since returned to his former ways with the recent media reported the arrest of oil bunkers believed to be the latest in his series of illegal activities.

During his media fanfare, Omotuwa had warned that ‘all economic saboteurs would be made to face the full wrath of the law,’ a claim many described as laughable because Omotuwa himself is a chief economic saboteur.

INVESTIGATION: Inside Story Of An Alleged Niger Delta Criminal Who Now Enjoys Security Agents Backing, Ijaw News - Niger Delta Stories
INVESTIGATION: Inside Story Of An Alleged Niger Delta Criminal Who Now Enjoys Security Agents Backing 7 Ijaw News - Niger Delta Stories

Now to the 20th of November, 2021 incident…

While the media reported the 20th of November, 2021 incident as a classic case of arresting illegal oil bunkers, information reaching IJAW NEWS suggest that it could have been one of his illegal raids on vessels on the highway.

It was reported that the incident led to the death of about 2 police officers and left another civil defence and police officers in critical condition as the armed vessel returned fire.

INVESTIGATION: Inside Story Of An Alleged Niger Delta Criminal Who Now Enjoys Security Agents Backing, Ijaw News - Niger Delta Stories
Boats recovered from Omotuwa’s boys

Call for further investigation

The incident is a wake-up call to government at all levels and security agents to divert attention to Omotuwa’s alleged criminal activities and forestall a breakdown of the fragile peace in the Niger Delta region.

Known criminals with track records of kidnapping, maiming and piracy should not be allowed to roam freely on waterways!

The government should use the various resources at its disposal to probe the activities of Omotuwa and his NDSS group.

Appropriate actions and sanctions should also be meted accordingly.

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