Crude oil theft: Police Impounds 123 Vessels: The Special Task Force set up by the Police to tackle cases of economic sabotage, illegal petroleum/oil bunkering has so far impounded 123 vessels comprising barges, tankers, lorries and other vehicles and confiscated over 1.3million (1,301,020) litres of AGO, 135,000 litres of Crude Oil, 45,000 litres of Engine Oil.
Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba made this known while appearing before the Senate to brief them on the Anti-Oil Theft Drive of the Police and the Impact on Petroleum Production and Oil Revenues recently.
He disclosed that the IGP-Special Task Force of Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering is currently prosecuting 52 cases in this regard. nationwide.
Making this known in a statement, Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi quoted the IGP reiterating that his administration is committed to continuously developing improved capacity of its officers through practical training, and acquiring top-notch investigative and operational assets to sustain the fight against oil theft and other crimes capable of sabotaging the country’s economy.
“The IGP via a report on the activities of the Special Task Force, similarly recounted other achievements on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB), by the Unit charged with the responsibility of tackling these specialized crimes, in the period under review, to include the seizure of 1,301,020 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 135,000 litres of crude oil, 4,900 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS), 45,000 litres of engine oil, and 123 vessels comprising tankers, lorries, barges, buses, lorries and other vehicles.
“The Unit currently has 52 cases under prosecution nationwide.
“In one of the cases, operatives of the IGP-STFPIB successfully discovered and busted the operations of an illegal refinery on 21st September 2022 in Jijoro Community Riverside, Delta State, a creek of about one-hour boat ride.
“Suspected illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) stuffed in 138 sacks, 10 empty surface tanks (ovens) used as cooking pots, 20 empty drums for storage 1 boat engine 2 pumping machines were recovered.
“Three suspects, Happy Gift Lawson aged 18, Ejime Precious Lande aged 22, and John Jugu Fom X aged 25 were equally arrested.
“Similarly, on 9th September 2022, following intelligence received from the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Command and Control Centre Portal, operatives of the IGP-STFPIB proceeded to the Rumuekini Area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where they discovered a warehouse within a residential building, storing about 15000 litres of petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined AGO stuffed in sacks.
“The products were recovered as well as 1 white Mack Tanker, 1 plastic storage tank, 1 barrel drum, and 1 pumping machine. One Franklin Osuagwu aged 29 was arrested at the scene in connection with the offence.
“Samples of the products have been collected for laboratory analysis, while the suspects will be charged to court on conclusion of investigations for effective prosecution in line with extant laws.
“The Inspector-General of Police restates emphatically that the Nigeria Police Force will not relent in enforcing all laws as it is statutorily empowered to do by the effect of Section 4 (d) of the Police Act, 2020, and so charge all suspects arrested for oil theft and other related offences accordingly, without any prejudice.
“Also, the IGP has called for increased support particularly in expanding the scope of our courts and confer jurisdictional competence to hear petroleum and illegal bunkering matters, as well as provision of storage capacity for exhibits recovered during special operation pending the determination of a suit by the courts.”
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