Officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) ,Abia Command, have arrested seven suspected oil vandals with 102 jerry-cans of crude oil and adulterated kerosene.
Parading the suspects before newsmen in Umuahia on Thursday, Mr. Nathaniel Ubong, the Commandant of NSCDC, said the suspects were arrested in two locations in Ukwa West Local Government Area on July 3 and July 4.
Ubong said the arrest and the quantity of the petroleum products recovered were the highest in the state in the last three years.
“The Rapid Response Operational Squad arrested the suspects in possession of 71 jerry-cans of 25 litres of substance suspected to be crude oil on July 3, at Umuorie Obohia and Amanapia Riverside, Ukwa West.
“On July 4, the same team arrested another set of suspects at Ukwa West, conveying 31 jerry-cans of 25/50 litres of substance suspected to be adulterated AGO (kerosene),” he said.
Represented by Mr. Victor Ogbonna, the command Public Relations Officer, Ubong said the team also recovered two Mitsubishi buses from the suspects.
He said the arrests followed surveillance by officials of the command, based on information that some bad eggs were operating an illegal refinery where adulterated petroleum products were produced and sold to the public.
The commandant said that incessant cases of oil vandalism were causing sleepless nights for security operatives in the state.
Ubong said the command was still interrogating the suspects, adding that they would appear in court as soon preliminary investigations were concluded.
He warned residents of the oil bearing communities to desist from vandalism, adding that the excuse of unemployment or collapsed business was not genuine reason for criminality.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that most of the suspects and illegal refinery operators within Ukwa axis of Abia siphoned petroleum products from pipelines running from Shell Oil Location at Owaza to Port Harcourt.