Operatives of the Tantita security outfit belonging to former Commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Government Tompolo, has raised the alarm that its operations have been endangered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The company in a statement issued yesterday alleged that the EFCC arrested and detained its Director of Operatives and Technical, Warredi Enisuoh, who played a pivotal role in the N48 billion pipeline surveillance contract in Lagos since January 19, this year.
The company said that while it has remained resolute and resilient in its fight against the criminal diversion of the nation’s resources, it is aware of efforts being made to strangulate its operations.
It said that Tantita has been in the news for the amazing progress being made in returning Nigeria to a pride of place as the leading oil producer in Africa, adding that “However, as we speak, efforts are being made to strangulate Tantita 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.
Explaining what happened, Tantita said: “On the 19th of January 2023, Tantita’s Executive Director Operations and Technical, Warredi Enisuoh was 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. 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 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 company explained that Enisuoh 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 that in September 2022, one month after Tantita began operations, EFCC invited Enisuoh and asked him how he gained access to the accounts.
The statement alleged further that 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 need to be protected.
Tracing the history of the current rift with the commission, the company said:
“Sometime in 2015/2016, EFCC commenced 4 cases against Warredi and several others. Of the four, three have been concluded, all in favour of Warredi.
“The last one is presently ongoing before Justice Faji of the Federal High Court Lagos. Before these cases were instituted, EFCC issued orders to various banks to block all 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. 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 Warredi access to his accounts. 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, EFCC invited 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 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 Rotimi Oyedepo, a staff of the EFCC. He declined to make further statements on a matter subjudice.
“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 five years ago. Again, Warredi is undergoing a full trial, would it not be better to let the courts decide who is right and who is wrong?”