Operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps have arrested 33 suspected oil thieves and impounded 19 trucks laden with illegally refined petroleum products worth millions of naira.
Rivers State Commandant of NSCDC, Mr. Mohammed Haruna, told newsmen while parading some of the suspects in Port Harcourt on Friday that they (suspects) were apprehended in different parts of the state within the last four months.
Haruna explained that the command also impounded a total of four cars and four Toyota Hiace buses loaded with jerry cans of illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (diesel).
He called on members of the public to join hands with the Corps in the fight against pipeline vandalism, bunkering and illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region.
“The anti-vandal team of the NSCDC in Rivers has arrested 18 suspects involved in illegal oil business. The corps also arrested eight trucks, three vehicles, three buses, and 100 tanks of 1000 litres of AGO.
“On 12 July 2017, at 10:30hrs, along Trans-Amadi, opposite Fidelity Bank, before Bewac Junction, the anti-vandal team arrested a truck with two different number plates, YB564FKJ and Lagos XP525AXD, the 40,000 litres truck was filled with suspected adulterated AGO.
“Subsequently, on the 6th August, 2017, three suspects and a truck with Registration Number DKA7032U Kaduna, conveying illegally refined AGO, was also arrested by anti-vandal team along Oyigbo LGA,” he said.
The state NSCDC commandant also disclosed that the Command discovered an illegal dumpsite at Igwurita axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, with 100 tanks of 1000 litres each filled with adulterated AGO ready to be sold to the public.
He said the kingpin of the dump site and guards were arrested and currently in the custody of the Command, awaiting prosecution.
“On September 21, 2017, a tanker with Registration Number AD208A Borno, fully loaded with AGO and a Volkswagen bus with six drums of AGO and 25 litre containers filled with AGO were intercepted by the NSCDC Anti-Vandal Unit along Okrika LGA.
“One Yamaha boat engine, Toyota Camry with Registration Number EPP555E loaded with AGO in containers were impounded by the corps on 26th September 2017, along Ozuboko waterside behind Port Harcourt zoo.
“Also along Port Harcourt-Aba expressway, 33,000 litres capacity truck with Registration Number XD18RBC filled with AGO was caught on November 6, 2017.
“A long truck carrying adulterated AGO with Registration Number XY923EKY was intercepted along Okrika road on November 8, 2017,” the state commandant added.
Haruna, however, expressed the need for the establishment of special courts to try suspected oil thieves, adding that this would ensure the quick delivery of justice.