Rivers: JTF nabs three suspected pipeline vandals
A joint Task Force (JTF) has arrested three suspected vandals that disrupted oil production by sabotaging the OML-55 Field within the Idama Oil Field operated by Belemaoil Producing Limited in Akuku-Toru Local Council of Rivers State.
The Guardian gathered that men of 103 Battalion of the Nigerian Army acting on a tip-off arrested the suspects while breaking and removing wellhead installations of Belemaoil facilities with the aim of stealing crude oil.
Confirming the arrest in Port Harcourt yesterday, the media unit of Belemaoil Producing Limited, in a statement, said: “This is in line with the ongoing effort of the Federal Government to combat crude oil theft in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry.
Security operatives apprehended three suspected oil thieves who specialise in vandalising oil installations, including wellheads, flowlines, pipeline and other installations with a view to stealing crude oil.
“The suspects completely vandalised all accessories of the Well-head and were about carting away the stolen items before they were apprehended by the military on general field patrol.”
According to the firm, the vandals. while sighting the military fled into the mangrove, but luck ran out of the three who were arrested.
The suspects had also vandalised two other oil wells within the Idama Oil Field before they were apprehended.
Several items including oil-well accessories were recovered from the suspects at the time of their arrest by the military.
The suspects have been transferred to a higher authority in the military for further investigation and subsequent prosecution.
Recall that a similar incident occurred in Aiteo oilfield where vandals destroyed wellhead and created uncontrollable wellhead fire outbreak, leading to huge environmental pollution and nationwide outrage.