Baku. 12 December. REPORT.AZ/ Government Ekpemupolo, once an illegal rebel leader in the Niger Delta, is now a prominent Nigerian businessman who owns a total of seven decommissioned Norwegian battleships.
Ekpemupolo holds six Norwegian fast-speed Hauk-class guided missile boats, now re-armed with new weaponry, according to reports in the Norwegian newspaper "Dagbladet." His most recent purchase is that of the KNM Horten, a fast-attack craft now allegedly engaged in piracy in the seas off Nigeria.
And Ekpemupolo has a history of violence. Now one of the wealthiest men in Nigeria, he became rich by illegally bunkering oil from nationally owned pipelines in the Niger Delta, and by leading a rebellious faction there.
How was such a man allowed to acquire warships from Norway?
The export of arms from Norway requires an export license from that country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ships were first sold to CAS Global, a British security company that has such a license. Ekpemupolo bought the ships from the British company, informs Report citing Anadolu Agency.
Government Ekpemupolo now controls the Global West Vessel Service, a privately owned contractor for maritime security for the Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency.
The seven Norwegian ships are now part of the company's maritime fleet, allegedly acting as pirates while patrolling for the Nigerian government, the newspaper reports.