The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, has apprehended 69 suspected oil thieves in Akwa Ibom between January and March this year.
Mr. Abidemi Majekodunmi, NSCDC Commandant in the state, disclosed this in an interactive session with newsmen in Uyo today. All the suspects have been charged to court for prosecution.
He said the corps had the mandate to protect government critical infrastructure and ensure that economic saboteurs were brought to justice.
He said that in the first quarter of the year, the agency placed significant emphasis on the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure.
His words: “Here in Akwa Ibom, we do know that the network of pipelines are much and definitely, we have criminals and non-state actors tampering with the pipelines for economic profiteering and sabotage.
“What we have done is to ensure that we deploy intelligence, capitals and assets to ensure that we do activities that serve as deterrent to these non-state actors that are always eager to steal petroleum products.
“When we get quality intelligence, we plan and execute operations to arrest. Currently, we have about seven boats. In that particular case, we have 69 suspects and illegal dealers in petroleum products.
“They have been charged to court and of course, we have done investigations and profiling of the cases for the court to do the appropriate adjudication,” he said.
The NSCDC state boss who said that the command was proactive in intelligence gathering across the 31 Local Government Areas of the state to check criminality added that the organization over the years had deployed technology to reach all criminal hideouts as part of its crime fighting efforts in the state.
He warned oil thieves, pipeline vandals and other criminals to relocate from the state as the command would deal decisively with all economic saboteurs.
He, however, called on communities to protect government infrastructure in their domain against vandalism and to see the facilities as their own.