Okon Bassey in Uyo
Six suspected persons arrested by the Nigerian Navy for illegal oil bunkering in Akwa Ibom State have been handed over to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for further investigations and prosecution.
The suspects were paraded yesterday at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Jubilee, Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State where their official handing over to the NSCDC also took place.
The Commander of the NNS, Commodore Saidu Garba told journalists in the state that the suspects were arrested by a joint team of Operation Thunder while on routine patrol on December 6.
Besides the arrest, he explained that two vehicles loaded with products suspected to be diesel with about 3,000 litres of the products were recovered from them.
His words: “In line with the mandate to rid our area of operations of criminals and economic saboteurs, NNS Jubilee has stepped up its patrols to ensure credible presence and create a secure environment for law abiding citizens.
“NNS Jubilee and other security agencies have ever maintained regular and sustained patrols within the area of operations. These patrols have yielded positive outcomes which have resulted in the maintenance of law and order in the area.
“The team arrested a total of six suspects, who claimed th at they are conveying the product to Itu Bridge. The two loaded vehicles were arrested with about 3,000 litres of the product.”
Insisting that no hiding place for criminalities, Garba warned all perpetrators of oil thieves, illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism, sea robbery and all other criminal activities within their area of operations to desist from the nefarious activities forthwith.
“I wish to warn all perpetrators of oil theft, illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism, sea robbery and other criminal activities with our area of operation to desist from these nefarious activities as there is no hiding place for them anymore.
“Additionally, the public is advised to be vigilant and report anyone involved in criminal activities to appropriate security agencies promptly for necessary action.
“NNS Jubilee on its part will intensify patrols and continue to provide a secure environment both ashore and at sea to enhance legitimate economic activities within and beyond its area of operations,” Garba stressed.
The Chief Superintendent of the NSCDC, Mr. Nkem Ojimba, while receiving the suspects reminded the citizenry of the federal government position on illegal bunkering and pipelines vandalisation.
He said the suspects and their exhibits would be thoroughly investigated and if found culpable the due process of law would follow by prosecuted and sentenced to appropriate jail term.
“In Akwa Ibom State, we are making waves and headlines regarding illegal bunkering, gas and oil pipelines vandalisation. I want to assure you that any particular suspect of exhibit given to us will be adequately prosecuted and perhaps conviction secured.”
One of the suspect, Udeme Idio, from Essien Udim Local Government Area of the state admitted to the crime explaining that other five persons were the vehicle drivers and conductors hired to move the product to the next destination.
According to him, he bought the products from tankers at small quantity until they reached the quantity he was caught with along Imo River.