The Abia command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps has arrested two suspects for allegedly dealing in illegal petroleum products.
The state Commandant of the corps, Nnamdi Nwannukwu, said that the suspects were arrested on Wednesday around Ohambele/Azumini axis in Ukwa East Local Government Area of Abia.
Nwannukwu said that they were nabbed by the NSCDC anti-vandal squad, led by the Divisional Officer for the LGA, “while conveying about 5,000 litres of petroleum products”.
He said that the products were concealed in nylon bags loaded in a truck (Mack) with Reg. No. Cross River BKS327XA.
The suspects included the oil merchant, 38-year-old Kate Idjesa from Cross River, and the driver of the truck, 31-year-old Yahuza Abas from Plateau.
Idjesa, a widow and mother of five, said that they were arrested around 10pm, while travelling with the product (diesel) from Ogoni in Rivers to Ikot Ekpene in Cross River.
She said that the product belonged to her and her friend, one Comfort Daniel, adding that the trip was her second since she joined the business.
Abas said that he was a trailer driver, adding that the real driver of the truck, one Umaru from Plateau, pleaded with him to convey the product, claiming that he was sick.
The commandant said that the “anti-vandals operational tactics” had been reviewed with a view to “clamping down on pipeline vandals and oil bunkerers”.
He said that vandals had invented new methods of “illegally siphoning petroleum products”.
and “more deceptive ways” of moving them across the nation, outside the conventional tank trucks.
According to him, “the products are usually disguised in trucks meant for the transportation of chippings and other building materials to deceive NSCDC personnel on patrol”.
Nwannukwu said that the corps would do everything within the ambit of the law to stamp out oil bunkering, vandalism and other economic sabotage against the nation.