The Commandant Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Rivers State Command, Abu Abdu Tambuwal, has disclosed the arrest of two suspects in connection with diversion and dealing in petroleum products without appropriate licence as well as taking delivery of 17 suspects and six wooden Boats intercepted and arrested by the Nigerian Navy on waterways for oil bunkering activities during routine patrols.
A statement signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSC Olufemi Ayodele, quoted Tambuwal as decrying the defiant behaviour of individuals dealing illegally in petroleum products and sabotaging the nation’s economy thereby contravening the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004 Laws of the Federation, the Anti Sabotage Act, the Petroleum Act and its regulation; he noted this in a statement signed and made available to newsmen by the Command Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent Olufemi Ayodele who relayed that the arrest was made possible through sustained Intelligence indicating that a group of oil dealers were transporting petroleum products through border states to neighbouring countries; thus the command’s Antivandal border patrol team swung into action and effected the arrests of Nwachi Emmanuel (M) 49 years of No 100 Umunna road Afikpo North, Ebonyi State and Chukwudi Obi (M) 52years of No 7 Okwuonu street Aba, Abia State.
“Following a credible and sustained Intelligence which revealed that some Oil dealers were diverting petroleum products via States sharing borders with Rivers State and thereafter channel the products to neighbouring countries; the Antivandal border patrol team swung into action and impounded a Blue and white colour 50,000 litres capacity Truck with registration number Abia EZA 850 YF in conveyance of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called Petrol”.
From the statements volunteered under caution by the suspects we gathered that the truck in question took off from Conoil Depot at Ibeto road in Port Harcourt where the product was claimed to have been loaded; they further maneuvered to the border between Rivers and Imo State where they were arrested. Meanwhile, preliminary investigation report showed that the product’s waybill stated that the product should be delivered at Omo Wealth in Ikwerre Local Government, Port Harcourt. The suspects further claimed that there was a mistake while writing the waybill and that they decided to take the product to Imo State.
Consequently, In line with the dictates of the Harmonized Standard Operating Procedures on arrests, detention and prosecution of vessels and persons in Nigeria’s maritime environment HSOP-ADP 2016; 17 suspects and six wooden Boats were handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Rivers State Command by the Nigerian Navy Ship PATHFINDER in Port Harcourt. As at the time of the handing and taking over, the arrested boats were loaded with unspecified quantities of products suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and kerosene wrapped in cellophane bags and coated with sacks.
“Investigation is currently ongoing and at its expiration, the suspects would definitely be charged to Court accordingly.
It is quite despicable that in spite the fact that the government is committed to preventing fuel scarcity some economic saboteurs are busy diverting the product in order to suffer Nigerians.
Hence, in the interest of the good people of Rivers State the PMS will be returned and discharged at Omo Wealth Station to prevent fuel scarcity in Port Harcourt. Our commitment to fighting vandalism of oil pipelines, oil bunkering, oil theft and unlawful dealings in petroleum products remains firm and resilient.
The Command marine forces are working assiduously in synergy with the Nigerian Navy to combat all criminalities on the waterways and we will not be deterred in anyway,” said Tambuwal.