• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Police arrest 40 suspects, seize vessels in anti-oil theft operation

The Nigerian Police Force says it has apprehended 40 suspects and recovered two vessels in separate operations at the Ogbogoro Oil Field, Brass Area, and Ekeni Area of Southern-Ijaw in Bayelsa State, during a crackdown on illegal oil activities.

The suspects will face charges including conspiracy, tampering with oil pipelines, illegal transportation of crude oil, dealing in crude, and storing crude without lawful authority or appropriate licenses.

According to the police, the operation, conducted in collaboration with the military, marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to combat illegal oil theft and economic sabotage across the country.

Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Force Public Relations Officer at Force Headquarters in Abuja, noted that the suspects were apprehended based on prima facie evidence against them and will be arraigned in court to face charges related to economic sabotage and oil theft.

“The vessels used in these illegal activities have been seized as part of the evidence against the suspects.

“The arraignment for suspects involved in one of the vessels is scheduled for February 26, 2024, while a motion for interim forfeiture of the vessel and its contents will be heard on February 19, 2024.

“Preliminary investigations have also implicated numerous individuals and companies, including foreign collaborators, who will be interrogated and prosecuted in due course”, Adejobi stated.

Kayode Egbetokun. the Inspector-General of Police has urged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities related to oil theft and economic sabotage to the NPF.

This call to action was in accordance with the Police Act 2020, which empowers the Police to enforce all laws without prejudice to other security agencies.

Emphasizing the commitment to enhanced synergy with relevant stakeholders, including government security agencies, the Inspector-General reiterated the Police’s determination to stamp out illegal oil activities.

The Police will continue to intensify its strategies and operations to curb such illegal activities and ensure that perpetrators face justice swiftly.