By Adibe Emenyonu
The Edo State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Wednesday blamed the incessant vandalism of crude oil pipelines on the attitude of highly placed individuals and businessmen in the society, who frequently stormed its office to effect the release of their friends and relatives arrested in connection with the illicit act.
Deputy Corps Commandant of the agency, Mr. Ferdinand Esiegwu, disclosed this in Benin City in a paper he delivered at a one-day seminar organised by the command with the theme: ‚ÄòZero Tolerance to Vandalism: A Key to Sustainable Development‚Äô.
According to him, what is baffling is that when some of these arrests are made, highly-placed individuals storm the Ugbor road office of NSCDC to say, ‚Äúplease assist me and release them, they are my boys.
‚ÄúThey range from businessmen, persons in government both at the federal, state and local governments. One may then ask ‚ÄòAre these people ruling or ruining us‚Äô?‚Äù
While indicting some of the highly placed members in the society for the increase in the cases of vandalism of petroleum products among others, Esiegwu said the perpetrators were not the ordinary persons in the society or the man in the field work alone.
He alleged that behind the work of syndicates hooked to the quick returns from the filthy money were highly placed Nigerians, influential members of oil bearing communities including traditional rulers as well as youth leaders and even security personnel.
He disclosed that about 200,000 litres of petroleum products were confiscated in the past six months, while 13 tankers were burnt on the directive and supervision of the government, adding that a total of 24 different cases with 37 suspects unlawfully dealing with petroleum products were also recorded by the state command.
Esiegwu also pointed out that cases of illegal refineries were discovered by men of the command at Uluoke village in Etsako West Local Government Area while appropriate action had been taken.
The deputy commandant, however, made case for proper equipping of the agency in the area of vehicles, gadgets among others in order to enable it continue to discharge its enormous mandate.
He further urged governments, as a matter of urgency, to establish forensic laboratory in all the commands of the NSCDC, particularly in the states where vandalism and adulteration are prevalent in order to make for easy forensic analysis, prosecution or release as the case may be.