By Gladys Nweke
As part of its commitment to combat criminal activities, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) says it has arrested 14 suspected oil thieves in Rivers State in the last five weeks.
State Commandant of NSCDC, Mohammed Haruna, while parading the arrested suspects, said it is no longer going to be business as usual for oil thieves in the state.
Haruna warned that any attempt to get close to oil pipelines this time around will meet stiff resistance from the anti-vandal team of NSCDC.
Stressing that between January and the first week of February 2019, the Corps apart from arresting 14 suspects, has also impounded two barges and six trucks used in illegal oil bunkering.
On 1st January 2019, at Alakiri, a barge containing unquantifiable litres of suspected adulterated AGO was impounded. On 2nd January 2019 at Aluu, a white truck loaded with suspected illegally acquired crude oil with plate number EBM174XA was impounded.
As a result of the strong synergy between NSCDC and the Nigerian Army, at Awaba flow station in Degema, 10 persons suspected to be involved in illegal oil bunkering were apprehended and handed over to the Corps by military police while trying to steal a metal barge named Ves Gloria on 28th January 2019.
On 2nd February 2019 at Ada George, a truck loaded with about 33,000litres of suspected illegally refined AGO with a white head and red body in colour was equally arrested, plate number GGD470XU.
On 6th February 2019 at Iwofe, a Mack truck with white head, red body with no plate number loaded with about 45,000 litres of adulterated AGO was seized.
The state NSCDC boss also stated that all seized vessels and trucks are its exhibit yard and jetty, while trials are ongoing in the court, adding that exhibits without suspects are being filed in court after due process for forfeiture to the Federal Government.