BY AKPAN EDEM in Calabar
Men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in Calabar have recovered no fewer than 200 drums of adulterated crude oil at the creeks of Calabar south local government area.
In addition to this, about seven suspected oil dealers have been arrested in connection with the crime.
Parading the suspects in Calabar, the state Commandant of the NSCDC, Stephen Lar said the arrest was made possible by a tip-off from patriotic members of the society.
Lar maintained that the command has declared zero tolerance on illegal trade in crude oil in the area, and to demonstrate this, the suspects will be prosecuted to serve as deterrence to others
According to Lar, “In keeping with our core mandate of protecting Nigeria’s critical national asset, particularly the oil sector; we carried out an operation early this morning following a tip-off.
“This channel is being used in carrying bunkering product into the town. We came here this morning and found the illegality of transporting adulterated petroleum product through this channel.
“We were able to recover 200 drums of adulterated crude and we arrested 7 suspects in connection with this economic sabotage. Some of the suspects escaped and we are trailing them”, he said.
He stressed that the act of oil bunkering is not only an economic sabotage on the nation’s economy but a very dangerous activity.
He said Cross River has no pipeline but the bunkers operate in other parts of the country and then use the state as a route to trade in their illicit activities.
“This act is very dangerous; Cross River has no pipeline, but it is a route for bunkerers. When they have gone to other places to carry out these illegal activities, they use Cross River to pass through.
“This type of product causes a lot of damages to our vehicles and engines. We must continue to monitor this route in other to prevent all forms of illegality.
“When the product is forfeited and found to be genuine, it can be auctioned out and if found not to be genuine, we can get clearance from appropriate authority to destroy it,’’ he stated.
“We shall not relent in our effort in making sure that this criminality on the maritime sector is stopped. We are also working with the Nigerian Navy to ensure a safer maritime domain,’’ he added.
He warned those involved in the illegal act to desist from it, adding that the eagle eye of the command was everywhere to curb all forms of illegality along the maritime domain.