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Army, NSCDC nab oil thieves in Bauchi, Rivers

Men of the Nigerian Army have arrested suspected oil thieves in the Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State and impounded a tanker and other items used to siphon fuel from pipelines.

The arrest and seizure were made by troops of the 33 Artillery Brigade, Bauchi.

The Brigade Commander, Brig. Gen. Michael Durowaiye, disclosed this to journalists on Monday while handing over the tanker and other items used by the suspects to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps at the 33 Artillery Brigade headquarters in Bauchi.

Durowaiye, who was represented by the Garrison Commander of the brigade, Colonel Gabriel Osho, said the suspected oil thieves, on sighting the army’s patrol vehicle, fled and abandoned the tanker and the items used for their bunkering activities.

He said the items recovered included a tanker, two generators, hand pump, pipe, drilling machine, welding machine, 26 welding electrode rods, one X Vanier calliper and three drilling rods.

“We will continue to go after oil thieves and ensure that we arrest them to make sure that the state is devoid of such criminals,” the brigade commander stated.

Speaking while receiving the items and the suspects, the Commandant of the NSCDC in Bauchi, Halliru Alhassan, commended the troops for arresting the oil thieves.

He lamented that their activities were costing the country billions of naira and vowed to work closely with other security agencies and members of the public to ensure that oil thieves were arrested and prosecuted.

The commandant, who was represented by Daniel Taki, said the command would carry out further investigations to ensure that the suspects, still at large were arrested and brought to justice.

Meanwhile, the NSCDC has arrested 21 suspected oil thieves and a barge laden with stolen crude oil in Rivers State.

The agency also impounded two trucks conveying bags of illegally refined diesel and two buses laden with large quantities of diesel.

Parading the suspects at the agency’s headquarters in Port Harcourt on Monday, the state Commandant of the NSCDC, Muktar Lawal, said 11 of the suspects were handed over to the agency by troops of the Nigerian Army attached to the Operation Delta Safe.

Lawal noted that the suspects would soon be charged once the agency concluded its investigation.

He said, “Today (Monday), we are parading 21 suspects, out of which 11 were handed over to us by the Operation Delta Safe and the Nigerian Army.

“We also have in custody a barge with six compartments, four of which were filled with suspected stolen crude oil. The barge is currently at the NSCDC jetty at Ogbogoro in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.”

Lawal told journalists that his men arrested two trucks laden with bags of illegally refined diesel hidden beneath bags of salt as well as two buses fully loaded with nylon bags of diesel.

He stated, “Two trucks were impounded with suspected adulterated AGO concealed beneath bags of salts, while two buses loaded with AGO were also seized.

“The suspects are currently being interrogated and will be prosecuted.”

The state NSCDC boss vowed that the command would leave no stone unturned in its quest to protect the country’s critical assets and infrastructure, adding that the cooperation of sister security agencies as well as members of the public was invaluable.

Lawal added, “We’ll leave no stone unturned in ensuring the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure against vandalism.

“We need the cooperation of the public and we will continue to collaborate with other security agencies to ensure that the resources are protected from vandals as security is everyone’s business.”