Defence & Security

NSCDC nabs suspects over oil smuggling

By Paul Michael, Defence Editor, Abuja

Rivers State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested two suspects for alleged illegal dealing in petroleum products and diversion of them to neighbouring countries.

This was confirmed on Saturday by the Commandant General of the Command, Commandant Abu Abdu Tambuwal, in a statement by the State’s Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent Olufemi Ayodele.

Tambuwal decried the defiant behaviour of individuals dealing illegally in petroleum products and sabotaging the nation’s economy, noting that such acts contravene the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004 Laws of the Federation, the Anti Sabotage Act, the Petroleum Act and its regulation.

According to him, the suspects, 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, were arrested following credible intelligence.

“Following a credible and sustained Intelligence which revealed that some Oil dealers were diverting petroleum products via States sharing borders with Rivers State and thereafter channel the products to neighbouring countries; the Antivandal 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 conveyance of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called Petrol,” Tambuwal said.

According to the statement, the suspects revealed during interrogation 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.

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“They further maneuvered to the border between Rivers and Imo State where they were arrested. 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,” the statement added.

It further added that the suspects would be charged to court after the conclusion of investigation.

Tambuwal, however, noted that the product would be delivered to Omo Wealth Station, where it ought to be delivered to prevent fuel scarcity in Port Harcourt.

“It is quite despicable that in spite the fact that the government is committed to preventing fuel scarcity, some economic saboteurs are busy diverting the product in order to suffer Nigerians.

“Hence, 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. Our commitment to fighting vandalism of oil pipelines, oil bunkering, oil theft and unlawful dealings in petroleum products remains firm and resilient,” Tambuwal said.

Meanwhile, the Command has taken delivery of 17 suspects and six wooden boats intercepted and arrested by Nigerian Navy on waterways for oil bunkering activities during routine patrols.

Confirming the delivery in a statement, Ayodele said it was 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 HSOP-ADP 2016.

He said, “17 suspects and 6 wooden Boats were handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Rivers State Command 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 (AGO) and kerosene wrapped in cellophane bags and coated with sacks.”

The State Commandant therefore assured that the Command Marine Forces would continue to work assiduously in synergy with the Nigerian Navy to combat all criminalities on the waterways.

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