The Nigeria Police high command disclosed that the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB) seized 123 oil tankers deployed for the purpose of crude oil theft. The taskforce also intercepted 1,301,020 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), also known as diesel, 135,000 litres of crude oil, 4, 900 litres of premium motor spirit (PMS), and 45, 000 litres of engine oil.
A statement issued by Force Headquarters stated that the development was in tandem with the commitment of the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to continuously develop and improve the capacity of its officers through practical training, acquiring top-notch investigative and operational assets to sustain the fight against oil theft and other crimes capable of sabotaging the country’s economy.
It stated, “In one of the cases, operatives of the IGP-STFPIB successfully discovered and busted the operations of an illegal refinery on 21st September, 2022 in Jijoro Community Riverside, Delta State, a creek of about one-hour boat ride.
“Suspected illegally refined AGO stuffed in 138 sacks, 10 empty surface tanks (ovens) used as cooking pots, 20 empty drums for storage one boat engine, two pumping machines were recovered.
“Three suspects, Happy Gift Lawson, 18; Ejime Precious Lande 22, and John Jugu Fom, 25, were equally arrested.”
Similarly, on September 9, 2022, it disclosed that following intelligence received from the NNPCL Command and Control Centre Portal, operatives of the IGP-STFPIB proceeded to the Rumuekini Area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where they discovered a warehouse within a residential building, storing about 15,000 litres of petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined AGO stuffed in sacks.
Other products recovered included Mack Tanker, one plastic storage tank, one-barrel drum, and one pumping machine. The police revealed that one Franklin Osuagwu, 29, was arrested at the scene in connection with the offence.
The statement said samples of the products were collected for laboratory analysis while the suspects will be charged to court on conclusion of investigations for effective prosecution in line with extant laws.
It said, “The Inspector-General of Police restates emphatically that the Nigeria Police Force will not relent in enforcing all laws as it is statutorily empowered to do by effect of Section 4 (d) of the Police Act, 2020, and so charge all suspects arrested for oil theft and other related offences accordingly, without any prejudice.
“Also, the IGP has called for increased support particularly in expanding the scope of our courts and confer jurisdictional competence to hear petroleum and illegal bunkering matters, as well as provision of storage capacity for exhibits recovered during special operation pending the determination of a suit by the courts.”