By Augustine Ehikioya
To protect the Nigerian economy and Nigerians, the Inspector-General of Police, (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba, has reiterated the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to maintaining a sustained fight against illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism, economic saboteurs, and other criminal elements in the country.
He gave the promise on the heels of the achievements recorded by the Inspector-General of Police Special Task Force on Petroleum/Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB).
According to a statement on Wednesday by the Ag. Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, and made available to Security Watch Africa (SWA), the special team has “successfully impounded 41 trucks, 13 other vehicles; arrested 42 suspects out of whom 21 have been charged to court with 17 still under investigations while 4 convictions have been secured in court;
“Pending and final forfeiture of 14 Tankers and 4 Cars to the Federal Government of Nigeria, with 6 cases pending in various Federal High Court branches across the federation.
“Equally, a total of 1,057,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO); 30,000 litres of Low Pour Furl Oil (LPFO); 75,000 litres of Crude oil, and 9,900 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were recovered between 2021 till date.”
These successes, the statement noted, were achieved in Rivers State and some other parts of the country.
“The collective effort has assisted greatly in the fight against bunkering traders and purveyors of adulterated petroleum products within the country,” it added.
Amongst the suspects that were arrested and paraded before the press in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, by CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Acting Force Public Relations Officer, the statement said, were “31-year-old Rabiu Halidu from Katsina State, 30-year-old Michael Okoro from Rivers State, 50-year-old Arinze Eze from Enugu State, 22-year-old Lukman Musa from Kogi State,
“18-year-old Sefiu Ibrahim from Kano State, and 25-year-old Nura Isiaku from Kaduna State. The trio of Lukman, Sefiu, and Nura hid drums of crude oil in a truck stacked with sacks of fertilizer.
“They however ran out of luck upon thorough stop and search by an operational team of the IGP-STFPIB,” it stated.
The Commander IGP-STFPIB, DCP Usman Jubrin Kanfani, the statement said, reported that the forfeited products which were tested and confirmed by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and approved private laboratories; and forfeited vehicles, are in the custody of the Nigerian Pipelines and Storage Company (NPSC) Ltd., “while motions for the forfeiture of the rest are still pending in different Courts.”
It said that the Inspector-General of Police commended the efforts of the Commander IGP-STFPIB and his team for their diligence even as he called for frequent operational patrols in a bid to curb the incessant activities of illegal bunkering traders and economic saboteurs.
“The IGP equally charged officers and men of the Force to be committed, patriotic, and focussed on their statutory duties of preventing crimes, and protection of lives and property in line with extant laws of the land,” it said.