IG‚Äôs task force arrests informant
Segun James and Chiemelie Ezeobi
What are the gods doing with stolen crude oil? And is crude oil the¬†new gin used in worshipping the ancestors? These and other questions¬†are what the soldiers of the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield,¬†are asking two persons who were arrested with huge volume of stolen¬†crude oil in a shrine at Ugbokodo community in Warri South Local¬†Government Area of Delta State.
Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion anti-oil-theft patrol team of Sector 1¬†of the JTF made the discovery when they stormed the shrine where over¬†230 drums of illegally refined diesel were being stored.
In another operation, the JTF also arrested 11 others on board four¬†ocean-going barges in Rivers State used for illegal oil bunkering¬†activities in the waterways of the Niger Delta.
The team, led by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ifeanyi¬†Otu, invaded the abodes of the gods following intelligence report on¬†the illegalities going on in the area.
According to the Media Coordinator of the JTF, Lt. Col. Onyema¬†Nwachukwu, the discovery at the community shrine has led to the arrest¬†of two suspects and the scuttling of 13 illegal oil distillery camps.
‚ÄúThe oil thieves had concealed 34 dug out pits, 37 steel surface¬†reservoirs, 360 drums and 44 open boats filled with stolen crude oil¬†along Benneth Island, Gbekebor, Iffie communities and Ugbokodo creek¬†in Delta State.
‚ÄúDuring the operation, two suspects, Queen Maku and Sylvester Togo,¬†were arrested with eight live cartridges and one empty cartridge,‚Äù¬†Nwachukwu revealed.
Another anti-oil theft security operation by the operatives of the¬†JTF, according to Nwachukwu, had also led to the seizure of four¬†barges with over 600,000 litres of crude oil in Bayelsa, Delta and¬†Rivers States communities and waterways.
However, the Commander JTF, Major General Bata Debiro, has called on¬†all community leaders and youth in the Niger Delta to synergise with¬†the JTF to bring the oil theft menace in the region to complete¬†stop.
Debiro, who made the call during an anti-oil theft advocacy and¬†security assessment tour to Bonny Island, noted that illegal oil¬†bunkering, pipeline vandalism and illegal refineries were all heinous¬†crimes that not only threaten the economic security of Nigeria, but¬†also degrade the environment and aquatic life of the good people of¬†the Niger Delta and therefore require a conglomeration of efforts to¬†totally eradicate.
He urged the youth of the Niger Delta to join hands with the JTF to¬†kick out the menace of oil theft by giving the necessary support and¬†cooperation to JTF operational bases in and around their communities,¬†rather than stand aloof and watch criminals unleash destruction on¬†their environment and take away their aquatic life, adding, that this¬†will inevitably protect their future
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police Special Task Force on¬†Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, Force Headquarters Annex, Lagos, has arrested¬†one of their informants and three other suspected pipeline vandals at¬†the Sagamu area of Ogun State.
The operatives of the task force also impounded a fuel tanker with¬†registration number XP453SMK, laden with 33,000 litres of petroleum¬†products.
The police informant, who was identified as 40-year-old Ismailia¬†Adetoro, was arrested alongside his accomplices 39-year-old Raufu¬†Odoniyi, 22-year-old Oyedeji Salim and 25-year-old Tobi Olalekan.
Confirming the arrest, the Officer-in-Charge of the task force, Friday¬†Ibadin, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, said the operatives had¬†received intelligence report about the area where the vandals were¬†siphoning petroleum products from one of the pipelines of the Nigeria¬†National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He said the Sector Commander, DSP Onaghise Osayande, detailed his men¬†and they ambushed and arrested the suspects after they had loaded the¬†tank of the 33,000-litre fuel tanker.
Ibadin said one of the suspect; Ismailia popularly known as¬†commissioner had been on their wanted list for a long time as¬†investigation revealed that the fact that he was a police informant,¬†did not deter him from dabbling in pipeline vandalism.
He said: ‚ÄúThe fight against pipeline vandalism is a collective¬†responsibility of every Nigerian and we should be proud to help law¬†enforcers to help protect our natural resources which are there for¬†our development.‚Äù
The mastermind-cum-police informant, Ismailia said he delved into¬†vandalism because the compensation he got from being an informant was¬†not enough to make ends meet.
In his confessional statement he said he was a pipeline vandal who¬†quit to become a police informant on other vandals.
He said, ‚ÄúBecause of the danger, I decided to stop and volunteered to¬†alert the police. Of course, I was generously compensated but I have¬†many responsibilities which my job as a vulcaniser could no meet up¬†with.
‚Äú I decided to reconsider going back to vandalism and I asked Alhaji¬†to include me in his next deal but¬† unfortunately it was in that deal¬†that the police arrested us.
‚ÄúI am terribly sorry and ready to help the police for free, if they¬†will release me. It was the devil and family problem that landed me¬†into this problem.‚Äù