Operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in Cross River, have Gabriel Ajom a pipeline vandal.
Gabriel Ajom, who works as security personnel at the moribund tank farm, Mettle Energy and Gas, where the pipeline was connected was arrested on Aug. 26, 2022.
Gabriel Ajom’s attempt to vandalise a pipeline of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation at the tank farm in Calabar was foiled by the operatives.
NigeriaCrime.com gathered that items recovered from the site of the incident include; a shovel, connecting pipes, buckets, and knives.
According to Ajom, who confessed to the crime, I was promised large sums of money by those who contracted me for the illegal act.
“Two men came into my office and said they want to help me make some money. They asked me to allow them to dig the pipeline and I did.
“They asked me not to panic that I was going to make huge amount of money. They gave me N500 on the first day they came.
“They went and brought people from Port-Harcourt who dug this tunnel day and night. They promised that when they want to lay the pipes, they will give me a huge amount of money,” he said.
According to the Commandant of NSCDC in Cross River, Samuel Fadeyi the suspect was arrested by NSCDC officers on surveillance patrol alongside the maintenance unit of Later Jay company, a private outfit involved in the monitoring of pipelines in the state.
“During the surveillance, they noticed a small collapse hole around the area, suggesting that there was a pit in between.
“NSCDC officials dug the hole and they discovered that it was a tunnel, leading from the moribund tank farm, Mettle Energy and Gas, into the pipeline.
“Further investigation showed that they had some equipment which they were going to use to connect to the pipeline, breach it and then siphon petroleum product.
“This whole digging took place underground, such that one will not know what was going on. The tunnel leads to the tank farm at one end and the other leads to the pipeline.
“We have commenced an investigation, and the suspect is helping to give us credible information on those behind this illegal act,” he said.
He noted that the act was carried out by a cartel, assuring that the corps will ensure that those at large are also arrested.
The Commandant alleged that the ownership of the tank farm must have permitted the illegal act, adding that the digging of the pit to breach the NNPC pipeline was done within a month.
He said that the distance of the tunnel to the NNPC pipeline was about 100 meters, adding that the suspect had already finished the digging and was waiting to connect their own pipe to the NNPC pipeline.
“Oil theft has been a major problem; it has dominated the major discourse in the country right now because of the effect on the nation’s economy.
“Last week, the Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr. Abubakar Audi, read a riot act to commands in the Niger Delta, particularly on the need to strengthen the anti-vandal team.
“That message was passed unto my men and you can see the result. I can assure you that the perpetrators of this act won’t be spared,” he added.