Dutch Defense Group Accuses Nigerian Company of Armed Robbery Against Vessel

A Dutch defense, shipbuilding, and engineering group has lodged a complaint with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. Kayode Egbetokun, accusing NUE Offshore Resources Limited, a Lagos-based company, and its managing director, Uyi Igbinigie, of armed robbery against its ship docked at the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) jetty in Warri, Delta State.

The petition, dated February 4, 2024, was submitted on February 5, 2024, to the Inspector General of Police on behalf of Damen Charter International Ltd by its Solicitors, Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun.

Titled “REPORT OF A CASE OF ARMED ROBBERY AGAINST ONE MR. UYI IGBINIGIE AND NUE OFFSHORE RESOURCES LIMITED,” the petition detailed an alleged ship robbery incident that occurred on February 2, 2024.

According to the petition, Damen, as the owner of the Fast Crew Supplier 1605 Aluminium vessel named MV NUE Swift, entered into an agreement with NUE in 2019 for the charter and hire-purchase of the vessel. However, NUE, represented by its Managing Director, Uyi Igbinigie, consistently failed to pay the monthly instalments required by the agreement.

Subsequently, Damen terminated the charterparty/hire-purchase agreement and sought to repossess the vessel. NUE and Mr. Uyi Igbinigie allegedly hid the vessel, frustrating Damen’s efforts to repossess it. Damen filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Warri Division, leading to the arrest of the vessel with the assistance of the Nigerian Navy.

The petition claimed that after settling costs and expenses incurred by the Nigerian Navy, the vessel was released to Damen on February 1, 2024. Damen then moved the vessel to the National Inland Waterways Authority’s (NIWA) Jetty in Warri, handing it over to the Delta Area Office of NIWA for safekeeping.

However, on the night of February 2, 2024, agents of NUE and Mr. Uyi Igbinigie, accompanied by armed men, allegedly dislodged Marine Police officers, beat the vessel’s civilian security personnel, and towed the vessel to the NBTC Yard in Warri.

The petitioners called on the Inspector General of Police to investigate the crime promptly, bring the responsible parties to justice, and recover the stolen property.

In response, Barrister ThankGod Nwugha, representing NUE Offshore Limited and Uyi Igbinigie, mentioned a pending court matter before Justice Aluko of the Federal High Court. He stated that an order had been granted on November 27, 2023, directing the vessel to remain with NUE pending the examination of the suit. Nwugha noted that the court had been served with the order, and a notice of contempt had been served to DCR Warri for allegedly not complying with the court order.

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