NSCDC Nabs 19 Suspects over Oil Theft
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested two suspects over attempted diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries without an appropriate licence, as well as taking delivery of 17 suspects and six boats intercepted by the Nigerian Navy for oil bunkering activities.
The Rivers State Commandant of NSCDC, Mr Abu Abdu Tambuwal, decried the defiant behaviour of individuals dealing illegally in the sale of petroleum products and sabotaging the nation’s economy, thereby contravening the Miscellaneous Offences Act, the Anti Sabotage Act, the Petroleum Act and its regulation.
Mr Tambuwal explained that the arrest was made possible through sustained intelligence, indicating that a group of oil dealers were transporting petroleum products through border states to neighbouring countries.
He said, as a result, the command’s anti-vandal border patrol team swung into action and effected the arrests of Nwachi Emmanuel (M) 49 years of No 100 Umunna Road Afikpo North, Ebonyi State and Chukwudi Obi (M) 52years of No 7 Okwuonu street Aba, Abia State.
“The anti-vandal border patrol team swung into action and impounded a blue and white colour 50,000 litres capacity truck with registration number Abia EZA 850 YF in the conveyance of PMS.
“From the statements volunteered under caution by the suspects, we gathered that the truck in question took off from Conoil Depot at Ibeto Road in Port Harcourt where the product was claimed to have been loaded; they further manoeuvred to the border between Rivers and Imo State where they were arrested.
“Meanwhile, a preliminary investigation report showed that the product’s waybill stated that the product should be delivered at Omo Wealth in Ikwerre Local Government, Port Harcourt. The suspects further claimed that there was a mistake while writing the waybill and that they decided to take the product to Imo State,” he said.
The NSCDC boss in Rivers State further assured that the Corps’ commitment to fighting vandalism of oil pipelines, oil bunkering, oil theft and unlawful dealings in petroleum products remains firm and resilient.
“Consequently, in line with the dictates of the harmonized standard operating procedures on arrests, detention and prosecution of vessels and persons in Nigeria’s maritime environment, 17 suspects and six wooden boats were handed over to the Corps by the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder in Port Harcourt.
“As at the time of the handing and taking over, the arrested boats were loaded with unspecified quantities of products suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil and kerosene wrapped in cellophane bags and coated with sacks.
“Investigation is currently ongoing and at its expiration, the suspects would definitely be charged to court accordingly,” he added.
As for the diverted truck laden with PMS, the NSCDC chief said “in the interest of the good people of Rivers State the PMS will be returned and discharged at Omo Wealth Station to prevent fuel scarcity in Port Harcourt.”