From Tony John, Port Harcourt

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State Command, has arrested 19 suspects on account of their involvement in oil theft and illegal dealings in petroleum products.

The state Commandant, Michael Ogar, while addressing journalists at the Command Headquarters in Port Harcourt, decried the defiant attitude of oil thieves and those engaging in illegal bunkering activities.

Ogar noted that in spite of the continuous sensitisation and relentless war against economic sabotage, those milking the country’s wealth through illegal oil dealings have blatantly refused to change their ways.

He maintained that sequel to the reconstitution of a new Antivandal Team of the Command, the marine and land patrol operatives had commenced full operations with a renewed vigour, professionalism and tactics in waging war against the menace of vandalism of oil pipelines and oil theft in Rivers State.

Commandant Ogar said: “As directed by the NSCDC Commandant General, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, a marching order was given to the marine and land operatives to massively arrest pipeline vandals and illegal oil dealers in the state and this has enhanced our doggedness in the series of arrests made by the command.

“The marine and land patrol teams arrested 19 suspects at different locations in the state; four suspects named: Peter Udo ‘M’ 20 years, Benjamin God’s power ‘M’ 16 years, God’s gift Nicholas ‘M’ 19 years and Goodness Sunday ‘M’ aged 19 years were arrested with one big wooden boat and a 40 HP outboard engine along Bakana river close to Bakana community in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“In addition, three suspects named: Jacob Fewu ‘M’ 23 years, George George ‘M’ 20 years and Stanley Bruce ‘M’ 20 years were arrested with one wooden boat laden with 10,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), a 40 HP outboard engine used for propelling the boat.

“The marine team, in an all night tactical operation, arrested two additional suspects named: Ade Monday, 27 years, and Abiola Gift, 29 years, with one wooden boat, 25 drums (6,250 litres) of illegally refined AGO and one 15 HP outboard engine.

“Following a tip off, the Antivandal Unit also uncovered a building used as a dump site for storing locally refined AGO along Cornerstone junction in Ogbogoro, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.

“We discovered an underground tanker containing unquantified litres of locally refined AGO, a plastic tank containing about 3,500 litres of AGO and a pumping machine.

The entire compound is now under seal and manned by our personnel, while the Command would continue to chase the culprits till they are arrested and prosecuted accordingly.”

In another development, five suspects were arrested at Oyakama community in Ahoada West LGA and Njemanze Street in Port Harcourt.

The suspects (all male) were: Onorode Daniel, 34 years, Samuel Odirode, 32 years, Charles Okeke, 43 years, Uche, 32 years, and Chinedu Iroanya, 36 years.

The commandant disclosed that the suspects were in conveyance of an ash colour Toyota Sequoia SUV with number plate: Lagos Epe 539 AT, laden with about 1,000 litres of AGO, a golden colour Toyota Camry Car with about 1,500 litres of illegally refined AGO, an ash colour Toyota Camry car with registration number Rivers BER 951 MU, a green colour Toyota Camry car with number plate: Rivers AH 824 AHD, laden with illegally refined AGO concealed in cellophane and packed in sack bags which totalled 5,000 litres.

Another building close to Akpos Jetty in Abuloma community in Port Harcourt was also uncovered, while the suspects escaped upon sighting the NSCDC operatives.

He said a short green and white colour DAF CF 250 Truck with number plate Lagos EKY 206 XS laden with illegally refined AGO and pumping machine were recovered as exhibits.

The land patrol team also arrested five suspects along Agwu/Elechi Street, Mile 1 Diobu, Port Harcourt. They were: Musa Mohammed, 36 years, Elisha Iyalla,18 years, Iyeneobong Emmanuel, 25 years, Felix Ukele, 45 years, and Mba Awajimimam, aged 42 years.

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Source: news