Twelve suspected oil thieves have been arrested by the Nigeria Army for allegedly breaking and siphoning crude oil from a pipeline in Rivers.
The suspects were arrested alongside an unspecified quantity of crude oil stored in paraffin bags, motorcycles, wheelbarrows and jerrycans.
Eddy Effiong, a brigadier general and commander 6 Division Garrison, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt briefed newsmen on the arrest of the suspects in Port Harcourt on Tuesday. He said the suspects were arrested on July 2 and July 3 by troops on routine patrol of both coastal and land communities in the state.
“The 12 suspects were arrested by our troops while they were siphoning crude oil from the Rumuekpe/Okporowo pipeline near Okoba community in Ahoada East area of Rivers.
“Items recovered from the suspects were an unspecified quantity of crude oil stored in paraffin bags, motorcycles, wheelbarrows and jerrycans.
“So, we are here to parade them and put a face to the oil bunkering activities in the Niger Delta,” he said.
Effiong, also the commander of Sector 3, Operation Delta Safe, said the army under the command of the Taoreed Lagbaja, a major general and chief of army staff, has zero tolerance to oil theft.
“We are committed to checkmating the activities of illegal bunkers in the Niger Delta considering that this illegal activity has adverse effects on the nation’s economy.
“We know how important crude oil is to our economy, hence we are making an effort to ensure that criminals are not given freedom to sabotage the nation’s economy,” he said.
The army officer said the suspects had already provided useful information that would aid army operations against oil thieves.
He gave the assurance that the commission would speedily conclude its investigation with a view to handing over the suspects to prosecuting agencies.