BY KAYODE ANIMASAUN
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command, on Monday said it has arrested a pregnant woman, two minors and eight other suspects allegedly involved in illegal oil bunkering in the state.
The NSCDC State Commandant Dr Hammed Abodunrin, made the disclosure while parading the suspects in Akure, the State capital.
Abodunrin explained that the suspects were arrested at Waterway in Iju-Osun, Irele Local Government Area of the state with products suspected to be adulterated diesel.
He explained that the quantity had not been ascertained, but added that the product was packed in drums, polythene bags and jerrycans loaded in four wooden boats.
Abodunrin said the arrest of the suspects was in response to the directive of NSCDC Commandant General to reorganise the corps’ anti-vandalism unit to strengthen its operations.
He said that the command had benefited from the recent deployment of gunboats to beep up operations in the waterways.
“All these efforts have started yielding positive results. As of Sunday, 11 suspects were arrested with products suspected to be adulterated AGO.
“One of them is a heavily pregnant woman and two are minors, so we decided not to take them into custody because of their conditions.
“We have taken their statements, whenever we need them we will pick them up and we are going to conduct an investigation immediately and take them to court as soon as we conclude our investigation,” he said.
Abodunrin alleged that the suspects were unable to say where they got the consignment from and conveying it to.
He warned criminals to stay away from the state, as the corps was determined to track, arrest and prosecute them.
The NSCDC commandant urged members of the public to be vigilant and always give adequate information for the corps to stem vandalism of critical national assets in the state.
“It’s a renewed fight against oil theft, against economic sabotage and a renewed fight to ensure that citizens can be sure of what their country can give them,” he said.
One of the boat drivers said it was his first time dealing in petroleum products.
He told newsmen that he was arrested with 20 drums of kerosene.
“I didn’t know that it’s illegal and I thought kerosene was what people could buy and sell.
“I am not the one that really owns the product, I was driving an engine boat for someone,” he claimed.