27 January 2015, Yenagoa – The Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, says it has arrested eight suspected oil thieves in its operations last week in the region.
Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, Lt. Col. Ado Isa, said in a statement on Tuesday that the outfit’s Sector 5 special squad deployed in Nigeria Agip Oil Company flow station in Akri community of Imo State, discovered an oil theft syndicate that specialised in pipeline vandalism.
Isa said the suspects, Mr Longinus Adizua and Ijeoma Chidi, both indigenes of Oguta Local Government Area of the state were arrested while vandalising an oil pipeline belonging to Agip.
He said items recovered from the alleged bunkerers comprised handsaw and blades, four mobile phones, four 4-inch hose and undisclosed amount of money.
The JMCC coordinator said the suspects and items recovered were handed over to 34 Artillery Brigade Provost Group for further investigation.
In another development, Isa said Sector 1 anti illegal oil theft operating along Sapele-Warri checkpoint in Delta State, also arrested Mr. Colllins Duru and Chidi Eme for illegal oil bunkering. He said the arrest was the aftermath of a discovery of three vehicles loaded with suspected illegally acquired Automated Gas Oil (diesel) parked on the premises of Jes Mota company in Sapele.
He added, “The vehicles and the products were evacuated to a safe place and destroyed in line with the JTF’s mandate in the region. The arrested suspects were handed over to the JTF for further action.
“Troops of 3 Battalion of the sector at Egwu 1 and Isaba area in Warri South and Burutu Local Government Areas of Delta State discovered and destroyed location of series of illegal oil bunkering sites where oil thieves operate with Cotonou boats.
“The large boat was filled with stolen crude oil, 38 cooking ovens, two pumping machines and 18 metal drums filled with illegally distilled diesel. Other items discovered at the site were three dugout pits, 40 surface tanks and other illegal oil bunkering equipment.
“The site was destroyed together with the items. No suspect was arrested during the operation as the suspects jumped inside water and escaped on sighting the troops.”
Isa further said the troops of 19 Battalion of Sector 1 in Kokori, Ethiope East LGA of Delta had arrested Agboka Felix, Monday Ugboh and Benjamin Madogwe, for oil theft along Nigerian Petroleum Development Cooperation’s wellhead.
He said they were arrested on board a white coloured Ford Transit Bus with number plate EDO XR 253 loaded with crude oil from the vandalised oil wellhead.
He said the troops also destroyed illegal bunkering site along Ogbekpeh rivers in Akpoba Okha LGA of Edo State.
According to him, the items recovered at the sites include nine cooking pots, three underground reservoirs filled with crude oil, 16 plastic tanks and one pumping machine.
– The Puch