A pregnant woman, two minors and eight other suspects have been arrested for alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering in Ondo State, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said.
Parading the suspects in Akure, the NSCDC State Commandant, Dr Hammed Abodunrin, said they were arrested along the waterway in Iju-Osun, Irele Local Government Area of the state with products suspected to be adulterated diesel.
The NSCDC State Commandant, who said the product was packed in drums, polythene bags and jerrycans loaded in four wooden boats, stated that the quantity had not been ascertained.
Abodunrin told newsmen that the arrest of the suspects was in response to the directive of the NSCDC Commandant General to reorganise the corps’ anti-vandalism unit to strengthen its operations.
According to him, “the command had benefited from the recent deployment of gunboats to beep up operations in the waterways.”
“All these efforts have started yielding positive results. As of Sunday, 11 suspects were arrested with products suspected to be adulterated AGO.
“One of them is a heavily pregnant woman and two are minors, so we decided not to take them into custody because of their conditions.
“We have taken their statements, whenever we need them we will pick them up and we are going to conduct an investigation immediately and take them to court as soon as we conclude our investigation,” he said.
He further added that the alleged suspects were unable to disclose where they got the consignment from and where they were conveying it to.
While warning criminals to stay away from the state, he reiterated the corps’ determination to track, arrest and prosecute arrested criminals.
The NSCDC commandant also urged members of the public to be vigilant and always give adequate information for the corps to stem vandalism of critical national assets in the state.
He said: “It’s a renewed fight against oil theft, against economic sabotage and a renewed fight to ensure that citizens can be sure of what their country can give them.”
He said the suspects will be charged to court to serve as an example to others.
Speaking with newsmen, one of the boat drivers said that he was arrested with 20 drums of kerosene, saying he thought kerosene was legal.
“I am not the one that owns the product, I was driving an engine boat for someone,” he said.
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