November 3, 2010
Eighteen suspected militants have been arrested by the Nigerian Navy near the Atlas Cove Jetty belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation at Apapa.
The suspected militants were paraded at the naval base at Apapa by the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Navy Command, E.O Ogbor. He said the vigilance of the naval officers led to the arrest of the suspects. “A patrol team of the Nigeria Navy, drawn from NNS BEECROTF Naval Base, spotted and arrested some militants and pipeline vandals at Takwa Bay near the NNPC Atlas Cove facility,” he said. “They were in a speed boat, tied their trade mark red headbands and were chanting war songs. However, upon interrogation, some of them, who volunteered to give confessional statements, revealed that they were members of a cult group called Norsemen Club, also known as the Supreme Vikings.”
The suspects, however, said they were not militants. “We are not members of MEND and we are not Niger Delta militants,” said one of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We belong to a cult known as the Supreme Vikings. We were ‘sailing’ as is the custom of the cult to familiarise ourselves with the water, so that was how we sailed to Lagos as part of our training. The only thing I was told was that we, the newly initiated members, were going on a trip on the sea to get acclimatised, learn signs and songs of the confraternity and become ‘hard men.’ It was in the process that we were arrested by the Navy.” According the Mr Ogbor, the suspects have since been handed over to the police for prosecution. When contacted, the force spokesperson, Frank Mba, said he was yet to be briefed on the incident.
Last year, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Atlas Cove facility in Apapa was blown by suspected members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). A naval officer, Kolawole Awe, and three naval ratings were killed during that attack, while oil pipelines at the jetty were destroyed. This arrest is also coming barely one week after security operatives seized 13 containers of arms and ammunition at the AP Moller Terminal, Apapa Port.