Police, ARPM task force bust oil thieves in Abuja
Men of the Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering Unit from Force Headquarters, Abuja, and operatives of the Association of Refineries and Petroleum Marketers (ANRPM), yesterday, bust a gang of suspected oil thieves at Church Gate, close to the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
Led by the national Task Force Chairman, Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a, Akpodoro and Emmanuel Okoh, a Superintendent of Police, the team arrived at a supposed private residence at Church Gate belonging to one Chijioke only to discover a huge amount of stolen petroleum products stored in large storage tanks, trucks and jerrycans numbering about 200.
Occupants of the residence including Chijioke reportedly scaled the fence on sighting the Taskforce team and ran away leaving behind one Mr. Chinasa Ogbonna and one Ms Olamide, Secretary and Accountant, respectively.
The team immediately sealed off the facility while the duo of Ogbonna and Olamide were arrested and taken to the office of the police anti-vandal team for further investigation.
Speaking, Akpodoro said the exercise was in continuation of what the taskforce was doing across the states of the federation, noting that the team would not allow criminal elements to kill the economy of the nation through their unwholesome activities.
He further highlighted the need to stop oil thieves from adulterating and stealing petroleum products, saying they (suspected oil thieves) were responsible for several fire incidences recorded lately in the country.
According to Akpodoro, who is a notable ex-militant leader and former scribe of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), the operatives of the ANRPM had made tremendous efforts across the states where his team discovered millions of tones of stolen petroleum products stored in suspicious circumstances.
According to him, Imo, Cross River, Edo and River States were most complicit in the illicit trade in stolen petroleum products. He added: “Working further on credible intelligence gathered by the men of ANRPM, the team also bust another dump site at the Mabushi area of the Federal Capital Territory where a seeming tank farm for stolen petroleum products is domiciled.”