From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State Command, has arrested 14 suspects for unlawful dealings in petroleum products.
These arrests premised on the renewed vigour and strategic efforts put in place by the Command to combat the menace of oil theft, illegal refineries, oil bunkering and illegal dealings in petroleum product in Rivers State.
Among the suspects were: Chinoso Anowo (m) 35 years, Babagana Umaru (m) 40 years, Victor Emeama (m) 49 years, Ifeanyi Chinaka (m) 42 years, Ndubisi Nwoji (m) 41 years and Echefulachi Okoro (m) 33 years.
Parading the suspects, yesterday, the Public Relations Officer of the NSCDC Rivers State Command; DSC Olufemi Ayodele, said the arrests were made possible following a marching order given by the State Commandant, Abu Tambuwal, who has reiterated on his assumption of duty that the war against illegal bunkering in Rivers State was non-negotiable.
Ayodele noted that the command is currently under a new Sheriff in town with zero tolerance for all anti-government activities most especially the act of sabotaging the economy of the nation through vandalism of oil pipelines and illegal dealings in petroleum product.
According to the command’s spokesman, they suspects were involved in illegal dealings in petroleum products and transportation of petroleum products without haulage licences, offences punishable under the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Law of the Federation 2004.
He said: “The NSCDC Rivers State Command in her renewed vigour to eradicate the menace of oil pipeline vandalism and other offences in connection with illegal dealings in petroleum products, has arrested and hereby parading these 14 suspects.
“The first suspect was arrested at Ada George Obio/Akpor Local Government Area with 18,000 litres capacity white Man Diesel Truck RIVERS MHA 435 XZ but a part of the content had been discharged before been apprehended by our operatives.
“The second suspect was arrested at Abua Junction, Ahoada East Local Government with a Truck NGL 141 XA in conveyance of 45,000 litres of suspected illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) popularly called Diesel; from his confessional statement, the truck was loaded at a dump in Ekporoho community in Ahoada East Local Government of Rivers State.
“Another truck Kaduna MKA 701 ZF conveying 40,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO was also impounded along Airport road. Four suspects were further arrested along a truck with number plate Ebonyi ZLL A3 XY in conveyance of products used for construction of illegal refineries.”
The Command spokesman relayed that 3 suspects named: Oluchukwu Nwachukwu (m) 33 years, Uche Nwankwo (m) 29 years, Chinwendu Onwenyisi (m) 31 years were also arrested with four cars conveying about four drums of suspected illegally refined AGO concealed in cellophane bags equivalent to 800 litres.
Also, a light grey coloured Toyota Camry with registration number Imo State AG 342 KGE, blue Toyota Camry with registration number Delta LEH 64 EX, a White Toyota Camry with registration number Lagos LSD 58 BJ and a deep grey Toyota Camry Car with registration number Rivers AM 25 BNY were impounded at Airport round about in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Similarly, Isaac Helliday (m) 39 years, Joseph Tambufo 50 years, Wisdom Batubo (m) 35byears and Felix Friday 32 years were arrested with two wooden boats loaded with suspected illegally refined AGO on waterways along Bakana River and Abonnema wharf respectively.
While reaffirming the Command’s continuous synergy with other relevant agencies, Ayodele hinted that the suspects would definitely be charged to court at the expiration of thorough Investigation.
He called on Rivers people to collaborate with the NSCDC State Command by giving credible intelligence, noting that safeguarding critical national assets and infrastructure in the state is a collective responsibility.
The issued a stern warning to economic saboteurs in the state, that they either engage themselves in legal ventures or risk facing the wrath of the law.