NSCDC Uncovers 10 Illegal Refineries, Arrest Five  Suspects in Rivers

. Again, EFCC Arrests Five for Illegal Mining Activities in Kwara 

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt and  Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

Operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have uncovered 10 illegal oil bunkering sites in a forest at Odagwa community, Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Similarly, operatives of the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have again arrested five persons for possession and conveyance of three truckloads of assorted solid minerals mined without licence.

Few weeks ago, the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Jamal Abdussalam, led a team to a different section of the same community where so many illegal constructed oil reservoir was uncovered.

However, during a visit to the sites yesterday by the officials of Rivers State Command of the NSCDC, five suspects were arrested at the scene of crime.

Speaking with journalists at the illegal oil sites in Odagwa, Monday evening, the spokesperson of the NSCDC, Rivers,  Superintendent Olufemi Ayodele, said the successful discovery of over 10 illegal refineries with an estimated 500,000 litres of crude oil contained in about 50 illegally constructed reservoirs was based on credible intelligence.

He assured  the public that the NSCDC will continue to work assiduously in the fight against crude oil theft, illegal mining, illegal dealings in petroleum products amongst others across the country.

Olufemi reiterated that the Commandant General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi had ordered a strong fight against every acts of economic sabotage, stressing that suspects arrested would face the full wrath of the law irrespective of their sponsors.

He continued that the CG has also given a marching order to the Special Intelligence Squad of the Corps, charging them to be more thorough and results oriented in their operations.

“Based on credible intelligence the CG’s SIS swung into action and uncovered 10 illegal local refineries in a forest located at Odagwa Community in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, where 5 suspects were caught in the act of illegally refining of crude oil.

“While conducting an operational tour across the large thick forest about 10 different cooking pots of 50,000 litres capacity were seen with 1 Big Pumping machine, Receiver Tanks, 25 rubber hoses used for pumping crude oil and many long galvanised pipes with unqualified litres of crude oil and illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil stored in 6 very large reservoirs and other 20 smaller reservoirs dugged in the ground,” Olufemi revealed.

The NSCDC spokesperson, who disclosed the names of the arrested suspects as: Favour Chukwu (29), Desmond Umeh (25), Godwin Amos (22), Bineace Galion (38) and Goodnews David (23), revealed that they been handed over to the Rivers State Command for further investigation and possible prosecution.

Meanwhile, the Rivers State Commandant of NSCDC, Basil Igwebueze has condemned the unrepentant act of persons who tapped into the oil well head of Heirs Energies and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) located around Imo River 2 Oil and Gas field at Odagwa in Etche, through different channels.

Igwebueze said the yet to be identified suspects inserted their galvanised pipes and syphoned crude oil while processing same within the premises without recourse.

He thanked the CG for the commissioning of the Special Intelligence Squad who he said have been working relentlessly across the States of the federation to combat the menace of illegal dealings in petroleum products, crude oil theft, vandalism of railway lines amongst others.

“The uncovering of this massive illegal oil bunkering site is a landmark achievement and an indication that the NSCDC as the lead agency in the protection of all critical national assets and infrastructure will continue to combat crude oil theft with a renewed vigour even as we work in synergy with sisters security agencies to salvage the nation’s economy from saboteurs.”

The NSCDC commandant reassured that thorough investigation has commenced to unravel those behind the scene, saying that “all suspects arrested in connection with this act of vandalism and crude oil theft would be charged to Court of competent jurisdiction and their sponsors or cartels would be trailed and brought to book without compromise.”

Meanwhile,  Operatives of the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have again arrested five persons for possession and conveyance of three truckloads of assorted solid minerals mined without licence.

They are Dauda Suleiman, Quadri Oladimeji, Abubakar Alhassan, Anas Sanusi, and Auwal Garba. The suspects are truck drivers except Quadri Oladimeji and Auwal Garba, who are truck boys.

The Ilorin Zonal Command of the EFCC had  on February 5, 2024, arrested 41 persons over suspected illegal mining activities and impounded 12 truckloads of assorted minerals mined without licence.

The latest arrest brings to 46 the number of persons arrested, and 15 vehicles ceased in the last one month over similar offences.

A statement issued in Ilorin yesterday and signed by the state Head of Media and Publicity of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Dele Oyewale, stated that: “The arrest of the suspects which was effected on Maraba road in Ilorin, Kwara State, and Ogbomosho in Oyo State between March 21  and 22, 2024, followed credible intelligence and days of surveillance.

The statement said: “The suspects were arrested while conveying solid minerals suspected to be marble stone, white powder, lithium, and lepidolite to Shagamu and Alakija in Ogun and Lagos States for commercial purposes without licence. They claim to be hired.

“Details of the trucks recovered from the suspects showed that Dauda, Abubakar, and Anas were each carrying a truck with registration numbers JJJ 206 YG, Lagos; T24413 LA, Lagos; and KNT 635 XP, Niger respectively.

“The suspects will be arraigned upon the conclusion of the ongoing investigations.”

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