From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said it has destroyed over 360 bunkering sites in the Niger Delta region.

Also, it has disclosed that hundreds of suspects have been arrested and prosecuted in court of competent jurisdiction for their involvement in economic sabotage.

Rivers State Commandant, Basil Igwebueze, made the disclosure through the Command’s Spokesperson, Superintendent Olufemi Ayodele, when the Corps carried out operation at several bunkering sites discovered in Odagwa community, in Etche Local Government Area of the State on Monday.

Commandant Igwebueze said the Command acting on the marching order by the Corps’ Commandant General, Ahmed Audi, who emphasized the need to step up operational and intelligence mechanism in the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure across the nation, has unwavering determination to achieve the mandate of their boss.

According to him, the Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad (CG-SIS) uncovered and dismantled the massive illegal bunkering site in Odagwa community, Etche LGA.

He hinted that the NSCDC boss has unwavering determination in waging continuous war against illegal dealings in petroleum products, oil theft, vandalism of oil pipelines and all forms of economic sabotage.

Speaking further, Igwebueze relayed that the Commandant General SIS swung into action and arrested three suspects while others fled maneuvering the forest due to the terrain.

He narrated how a large multinational’s manifold was invaded through a broken fence, and large industrial hoses were used to siphon crude oil and transmitted through numerous metal galvanized pipes to cooking pots and further stored in reservoirs for onward loading to would be buyers.

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“Having walked through this thick forest, you have practically seen how the manifold and oil well head were vandalized by unscrupulous elements.

“They tapped into the source and buried the hoses and pipes underground, waiting for the multinationals to pump the crude. Immediately the pumping starts, they commence their nefarious operations through illegal local refining of crude to derive Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), DPK and other products.”

Igwebueze, responding to questions on the reason for continuous rebuilt of some illegal bunkering site after being dismantled by the security agencies, said that the fight against illegal bunkering is a strategic war.

He said fight must be fought with collective will and consciousness, especially with the fact that such acts cause environmental degradation, pollination and health hazard.

“Hence, to eradicate ‘soot’ the locals and all stakeholders must come to terms to say no to operation of illegal local refineries and other activities which cause more harm to the people and the environment as well.

“On this note I wish to reiterate the words of the NSCDC boss that: ‘The fight against oil theft, vandalism and illegal dealings in petroleum product is non-negotiable, as the NSCDC is fully committed to its statutory mandate of safeguarding all critical national assets and infrastructure. This we would do relentlessly and without compromise.”



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