August 16, 2022

Reporters’ Diary

Factual Reportage

NSCDC arrests 16 suspected oil thieves in Abia

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abia Command, says it has arrested 16 people, including a 45-year-old mother of four, in connection with alleged oil bunkering.

The NSCDC Commandant, Mr Vincent Ogu, announced the arrest at a news conference in Umuahia on Tuesday.

Ogu said:”The suspects were arrested at different locations in the state for offences bordering on oil bunkering and illegal dealings in petroleum products.

“Babangida Saleh, Abubakar Ibrahim, Bukar Ali and Mohammed Mohammed were arrested while conveying about 30,000 litres of suspected petroleum products in a truck with Reg. No. GYA611XA.

“’Lawrence Ahmed, Johnson Akinrinola and Ofo-Obong Francis were also arrested while conveying 10 drums of suspected petroleum products concealed in cellophane bags in a Volkswagen bus with Reg. No EZA879XA.

”Daniel Ikechukwu and Ugochukwu Alozie were allegedly conveying 20,000 litres of petroleum products in a truck with Reg. No. NSR311SA, when they were arrested by the corps,” the commandant said.

He said that men of the Anti-Vandal Unit of the command impounded a Toyota Camry car with Reg. No. KPR413EE already loaded with product suspected to be diesel during a routine patrol.

According to him, the suspects took to their heels when they sighted the operatives, abandoning their vehicle and the 250-litre product.

He said that Elijah Peters, Lawal Ibrahim, Haruna Zuberu and the mother of four, Chinyere Ezeali, were arrested in Aba on Feb. 26 for alleged involvement in oil bunkering, using a truck with Reg. No. DKA353XP.

He said that all the suspects did not have the licence to deal in petroleum products, while the trucks and other vehicles lacked the permit to be used for conveying the commodities.

Ogu warned Abia youths to shun crime and criminality, including the vandalism of critical government infrastructure.

“Any attack on the critical national assets and infrastructure is an attack on the economic wellbeing of every Nigerian and the corps must resist it,” he said.

The NSCDC boss urged his officers and men to redouble their efforts to decisively deal with the menace of oil theft, vandalism and general insecurity in the state.

He noted that the new Commandant-General of the corps, Dr Ahmed Audi, had provided the enabling environment, including improved welfare package and training, to enable the organisation provide quality service delivery.

“My men do not have any excuse whatsoever not to efficiently deliver on the corps’ mandate,” he said.

Ogu said that the suspects would be arraigned for diligent prosecution, while the trucks would be forfeited to the Federal Government.

He further said that the command had secured five convictions at the Federal High Court, Umuahia, within the five months of his assumption of office as the 10th state commandant.

While  some of the suspects admitted to the crime, Ezeali denied any involvement in illegal dealings in petroleum products.

According to her, she did not know her offence and that she had a shop for household utensils near Obehe, Ukwa West Local Government Area of the state.

She said she was waiting for her friend by the roadside in the area when military operatives posted to the area arrested her and later handed her over to NSCDC.