Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
The police have arrested 18 suspected oil pipeline vandals in different parts of the country and recovered 29 trucks laden with stolen diesel and petrol.
The Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism and Illegal Bunkering, which made the arrests, also confiscated two marine vessels, MVs Ellen and Opuda.
Parading eight suspects on Monday in Abuja, the Force Public Relations Officer, Donald Awunah, identified them as Harrison Chinedu, 40; Mohammed Abdulkadir, 21; Idris Bawa, 28; Emmanuel Akighir, 39; and Suleiman Musa, 22.
Items recovered from the suspects, according to the FPRO, are two trucks with number plates, RGG 76 XA, and YKS 108 XA, loaded with 20,000 litres of illegally refined diesel each.
Awunah stated that the police also arrested Amechi Aduma, 47; and Ezechi Peter, 17; in Abia State and Mamud Ibrahim,30; in Kaduna, near the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation depot, adding that a truck with number plate, XB 169 GWB, loaded with 33,000 litres of illegally refined diesel, was recovered.
Awunah said, “In coordinated operations based on credible intelligence and assistance from key players in the petroleum sector, the police arrested 18 suspects, impounded two vessels and 29 trucks loaded with stolen petroleum products.”
He explained that following a sustained surveillance and monitoring of MV Ellen and crew members sailing from Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states waterways to Lagos State with illegally refined diesel on board, the task force intercepted the boat at Satomen’s Jetty located at Amuwo Odofin in the Mile 2 area of Lagos where it had discharged the diesel into 18 trucks.
The vessel, crew members, the trucks and the other suspects were reportedly arrested and taken into custody by the task force.
The police spokesman explained that another vessel, MV Opuda, was intercepted at the same Satomen Jetty, after discharging suspected illegally refined diesel.
“Investigations are ongoing and all suspects will be arraigned in court,” he said. Punch.ng.com