The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Rivers State Command, has arrested 14 suspected oil thieves in the state.
The Rivers State Commandant, NSCDC, Mohammed Haruna, stated this while speaking with journalists in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Haruna explained that the suspects were apprehended in different parts of the state in the past five weeks, adding that two barges and six trucks used for illegal bunkering were also seized.
He expressed the corps’ commitment to fight oil theft to a standstill.
The NSCDC commandant noted that it would no longer be business as usual, as any attempt by oil thieves to get close to pipelines would be met with stiff resistance.
Haruna stated, “On January 1, 2019, at Alakiri, a barge containing unquantifiable litres of suspected adulterated AGO was impounded. On January 2, 2019, at Aluu, a white truck with number plate EBM 174 XA and loaded with suspected illegally-acquired crude oil, was impounded.
“As a result of the strong synergy between the NSCDC and the Nigerian Army, at the Awaba flow station in Degema, 10 suspected illegal oil bunking perpetrators were apprehended and handed over to the corps by the military police, while trying to steal a metal barge named: Ves Glora, on January 28, 2019.
“On February 2, 2019, at Ada George, a truck with plate number GGD 470 XU, loaded with about 33,000 litres of suspected illegally-refined AGO with white head and red body was equally arrested.
“On February 6, 2019, at Iwofe, a Mack truck with white head and red body, with no plate number, and loaded with about 45,000 litres of adulterated AGO was seized.”
Haruna the seized vessels and trucks were kept in the NSCDC’s state office and exhibit yard and jetty, adding that the trial of the suspects was ongoing in the court.
He added that exhibits would be forfeited to the Federal Government if the suspects were found guilty and convicted by the court.
He assured residents of the state of the corps’ readiness to provide security for lives and property before, during and after the general elections.
Haruna added, “In a bid to ensure the security of lives and property, before, during and after the 2019 elections in the state, the command will protect the nation’s critical assets.
“The command will combat miscreants, who may wish to disrupt the forthcoming presidential and National Assembly elections, come Saturday February 16, 2019.”