The Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Abdullahi Muhammadu, has said that about 120 suspected oil pipeline vandals have so far been prosecuted for operating over 200 illegal refineries in eight states.
The Commandant General said the refineries, located in Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo, Kogi, Ondo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom states, were destroyed by the special task set up to clampdown on saboteurs as part of drive to check vandalism, illegal refineries, oil theft and illegal bunkering.
“This is in line with the Corps’ mandate to protect critical infrastructure and national assets,” Mr. Muhammadu said.
He charged the task force to ensure that they discharged their responsibilities effectively by tracking down vandals and operators of illegal refineries in the region to help curb the national menace.
The Commandant also directed the State Commandants to work closely with the special task force to clamp down on illegal dealers on petroleum products, vandals, illegal refineries, illegal bunkering, marketers involved in the diversion of petroleum products.
The special operation, the Commandant explained, also covered filling stations selling petrol above approved pump price of N87 per litre and those hoarding products.
Besides, those involved in black marketing, racketeering and related crimes, he said, would be prosecuted in line with the country’s laws.
As at December 2015, the NSCDC boss said the over 120 suspects involved in various acts of vandalism and other associated crimes have been prosecuted and sentenced to various imprisonment terms in their respective States.
About 250 other suspects, he said, were still undergoing prosecution in various high courts, whle over 80 trucks carrying petroleum products were impounded, along with several operational equipment recovered from the suspected vandals.
Mr. Muhammadu charged the task force and other officials to justify the confidence reposed in them by government and ensure that vandalism was reduced to the barest minimum.
He said the Corps was ready to tackle vandalism and other illicit crimes in line with its mandate to protect critical infrastructure and national asset by monitoring and clamping down on perpetrators.
‘‘We are created to fight vandalism, illegal bunkering, illegal refinery, oil theft, and other allied crimes. We will continue to fight these illicit acts diligently to rid the nation of these acts perpetrated by some few greedy and selfish individuals. We will not rest on until the battle is over,” he said.
He acknowledged the contributions of other securities agencies, especially the armed forces and Joint Task Force (JTF) in prosecuting the war against vandalism.