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Police parade 18 oil thieves, confiscate tankers in Rivers

By Sodiq Omolaoye (Abuja) and Obinna Nwaoku (Port Harcourt)
11 January 2022   |   3:21 am
Operatives of the Rivers State Command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have paraded 18 suspected oil thieves, whose activities have been polluting the environment with soot.

• As EFCC grills 22 suspects in Port Harcourt

Operatives of the Rivers State Command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have paraded 18 suspected oil thieves, whose activities have been polluting the environment with soot.

Speaking during the parade of the suspects at the Command headquarters at Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the state Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka, disclosed that the activities of the suspects played primary and critical roles in contributing to air pollution experienced in the state.

According to him, officers of the Command also impounded two tankers and two large trucks used for illegal storage and transportation of crude oil.

He noted that among the 18 suspects, five members from the same family in Mgbu-Atafa village in Emohua council were arrested for providing lands for the use of illicit activities.

“These persons were engaging in illegal oil bunkering and refining activities across various locations in the state. These activities play a primary and critical role in contributing to the unhealthy levels of air pollution experienced in the state.

“A special case worth noting is the arrest of five suspects from one particular family in Mgbu-Atafa village of Emohua council. These suspects were arrested for providing their land to persons for use in illegal oil refining and bunkering activities,” he said.

The Police Commissioner, however, seized the opportunity to warn families and communities in the state to desist from such activities, adding that anybody or group of persons caught, would be prosecuted.

“We wish to use this opportunity to warn all individuals, families, and communities in Rivers State to desist from cooperating with persons in such illegal activities. Anyone or group of persons found to be complicit in such activities will be duly arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law, “ he warned.

ALSO, 22 suspected oil thieves and a vessel, MT. TIS IV, handed over to the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the Nigeria Navy, are being quizzed in connection with illegal dealing in petroleum products.

The suspects include: Levi Jonathan; Eze Kenneth; Enemari Peter James; Sunday Ereku; Emmanuel Ogbonna; Timi Amos; Fatai Kareem; Chuks Egbo, Tony Atawo and Saviour Martin.

Others are: Yoosu Alex; Isac Iboro; Bassey Okon; Kingsley Edet; Taye Poto; Saturday Sobere; Alfred Atiemie; Owei Ibolo; Felix Onome; Odus Osita, Etim Edet and Mudashird Tarheed.

Representative of Nigerian Navy, Navy Commander P. E Effah, who handed over the suspects and the vessel to the EFCC, said they were arrested for alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering activities.

At the time of arrest, the vessel was laden with about 700,000 litres of products suspected to be illegally sourced crude oil.

“Both the vessel and the suspects were remanded at Brass for safe keeping and preliminary investigations. However, today, we are handing over the vessel and crew members to the EFCC for proper investigation”, he said.

EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement, yesterday, said representative of the commission, Assistant Superintendent of the EFCC, Anthony Mark, who took over the suspects, thanked the Navy and promised diligent investigation and possible prosecution of the suspects.

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