Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corps (NCDSC) operatives
By Matthew Onah
The Joint security Task Force, JTF, in Kogi State has arrested seven persons in connection with an illegal refinery discovered in Emomo village in Okene Local Government Area of the state.
The JTF Commander in the State, Lt. Col. Gabriel Olufemi, who along with the Acting State Commandant of the Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corps, NCDSC, Kingsley Oguntuwase, conducted journalists around the refinery in Emomo Village, which is five kilometres away from Okene, said the vandals were arrested after a tip-off.
He disclosed that aside the seven arrested persons , other accomplices were still at large, including the alleged owner of the refinery, one Ola Olumide, believed to be a Warri, Delta State-based Yoruba man .
The JTF boss said the illegal activities of the vandals were a well coordinated operation as a link-pipe was connected to the Nigeria National Petroleum Company, NNPC, pipeline to siphon the crude oil to their refinery, where it was being refined before being loaded into trucks in drums for onward movement to unknown destinations.
He called on the security check points on Okene-Lokoja-Abuja as well as Okene-Auchi-Benin roads to ensure thorough checking on the trucks transporting fuel by making sure that their way-bills are in order so that those moving the illegal fuel can be arrested.
One of the suspects, who simply identified himself as John, an indigene of Auchi in Edo State, confessed that he was lured into the business by one Benjamin, a former Secretary in Etsako Local Government in Edo State, whom he claimed to have met in Fuga, the village of his wife, whom he met last month.
He further explained to journalists that the refinery was new as no oil had been lifted from the place yet, stressing that the refinery was to commence full operation over the weekend.
Though the refinery has been set ablaze by the JTF and NCDSC in a joint operation, the premises were littered with hundreds of empty drums as well as those already filled with the fuel.
The villagers have also deserted the community for fear of arrest while those near a village called Asose were cautioned to beware of vandals and their activities by the acting Commandant of the NCDSC, Mr. Ogunwatuse.
He also appealed to them to report suspicious activities in their environment to the law enforcement agencies..