by Isi Esene
Emmanuel Iheanacho, the former minister of interior and owner of Integrated Oil and Gas has been released by the State Security Service (SSS), Lagos State Command.
Iheanacho’s company was accused of dealing in illegally acquired petroleum products.
Officials of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and armed forces personnel attached to the Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (GWVSL) had on Friday invaded the oil company’s corporate headquarters and arrested Iheanacho.
After the arrest, the former minister was later transferred to the Lagos office of the SSS where he was later released after several hours in detention.
While explaining the rationale behind the minister’s arrest, The NIMASA Executive Director for Maritime Labour Services and Cabotage, Obi Nwabueze said, “You recalled we had cause to parade some pirates here and we did say that we were going to continue to look for those who were behind these pirates because we came to the realisation that behind the facade there are the kingpins and the big men who facilitate piracy.
“So in line with our promise to the Nigerian public, we intensified our search for the big men behind the scene and we are happy to tell you today that we have been able to trace them to a company, a major company, Integrated Oil and Gas.
“The products that were stolen from the activities of piracy were conveyed and stored at integrated oil and gas. As we speak we have sealed off the company and we have arrested the top management of the company.”
Iheanacho has however refused to speak to reporters on his arrest but his aides say that he would tell his own side of the story when the time is right.
A source, who preferred anonymity, told reporters that the issue would have to be resolved in court.
“We would go to court. We definitely have to go to court because for NIMASA to have sealed the depot would affect every other customer,’’ the source said.