The operatives of the Tantita Security outfit belonging to the former Commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo, have raised the alarm that their operations have been endangered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Tantita Security Limited is at the forefront of the campaign against the massive theft of the nation’s crude oil resources.
The company alleged in a statement on Saturday that the EFCC arrested and has been detaining its Director of Operatives and Technical, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh, who plays a pivotal role in the N48 billion pipeline surveillance contract in Lagos from January 19, 2023.
In a statement issued Saturday, the company said that while it was resolute and resilient in its fight against the criminal diversion of the nation’s resources, it was aware of efforts being made to strangulate its operations.
The company alleged that some powerful forces in the country are hiding behind operatives of the EFCC to use the commission to scuttle the intensified action against the theft of Nigeria’s oil resources in the country.
The company alleged that efforts to secure the release of Enisuoh, who is being detained after he honoured an invitation by the EFCC, have proved abortive.
The surveillance firm said that the EFCC invitation came in the middle of an ongoing operation to uncover one of the biggest oil-stealing cartels in the country.
“On the 19th of January 2023, Tantita’s Executive Director, Operations and Technical, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh was invited by the EFCC and detained. He has been in EFCC custody since. All efforts to ensure his release have 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.
“While Tantita is determined to carry on the fight against the oil thieves regardless, it is our position that the EFCC’s 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 explained.
The company explained that Warredi had four cases with the anti-graft commission, out of which he won four.
It was stated that Enisuoh got a judgment of the Court of Appeal CA/L/1320/2016 delivered on 25/11/2017 to access his bank accounts which were frozen by the EFCC.
The firm said further that in September 2022, one month after Tantita began operations, the EFCC invited Warredi and asked him how he gained access to the accounts.
The statement alleged further that the EFCC is giving a condition to Enisuoh to provide the names of those who received money from the account, which he did not, as the persons concerned were intelligence assets who provided valuable intelligence and needed to be protected.
Tracing the history of the current rift with the commission, the company said: “Sometime in 2015/2016, the EFCC commenced four cases against Capt Warredi and several others. Of the four, three have been concluded, all in favour of Capt Warredi.
“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 of 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 which overturned the second 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.
“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 sub judice.
“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.”
The company alleged that the EFCC asked Warredi to name his intelligence sources.
Sylvester Idowu in Warri