The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State Command has uncovered a vast dump site used in storing stolen crude oil and illegally refined petroleum products in Agbada Community, Ikwerre local Government Area of Rivers State.
The ten plots fenced dump site which has 170 surface industrial tanks of 1,000 litres each and two metal storage tanks of about 5,500 capacity is less than two kilometres from the Agbada flow Station operated by Heirs Oil and Gas.
Four persons working in the dump site including the gate-keeper and supervisor were arrested.
The State Commandant, Michael Ogar who led personnel of the Command and journalists to the dump site, says the premises was uncovered by the Command’s Antivandal Unit following credible information.
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Michael Ogar expressed concern over the proximity of the dump site to the Agbada Flow Station, saying a comprehensive investigation has been launched into the illegal business.
He added that the premises which is currently being manned by personnel of the Command will remain sealed until the investigation to unravel the owner is concluded.
The NSCDC State Commandant also reiterated that any building or site where illegal oil bunkering activities are discovered would be sealed by the Corps and subsequently forfeited to the federal government.
Some of the suspects arrested in the dump site however, denied any involvement in crude oil theft, saying they are carrying out genuine business in the site.
The Senate Committee on Crude Oil Theft had recently visited the Agbada Flow Station as part of its field investigation into the menace in the Niger Delta.
During the visit, the Vice President, Heirs Oil and Gas, Bola Bode told the Committee that the 55,000 barrels per day capacity production facility has not produced a single barrel since May this year and blamed the development on oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
Arrest of 16 Suspected Oil Thieves
In another development, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, Rivers State Command has paraded 16 suspects arrested at different locations in the state over alleged involvement in oil theft and illegal dealings in petroleum products.
The 16 suspected include eight arrested by the Nigerian Navy in the creeks as well as eight others arrested by the Command’s Antivandal Land Patrol over alleged dealings in stolen crude oil illegally refined petroleum products.
Parading the suspects at the NSCDC Office in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, State Commandant, Michael Ogar, said the suspects were arrested following a renewed vigour to salvage the Nation’s economy from saboteurs.
Michael Ogar restated the Command’s commitment in arresting and prosecuting pipeline vandals and crude oil thieves as well as their sponsors.
He said in the last one month, over 40 suspects were arrested, out of which 30 have so far been charged to court, adding that the Command under his watch will not relent in the fight against crude oil theft and illegal refining.
The NSCDC State Commandant who later led journalist to the Command’s Exhibit Yard, explains that over 200,000 litres of illegally refined petroleum products were recovered from the 16 suspects, saying the products together with trucks, vehicles and wooden boats will be forfeited to the federal government and the suspects charged to court.