The Rivers State command of Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) has said 22 people out of 299 suspects standing trial over illegal oil deals and pipeline vandalism have been convicted by a Port Harcourt High Court.
The state NSCDC commandant, Mrs. Helen Amakiri, who made this known to journalists, said out of the 658 suspects arrested for oil theft, 299 were arraigned, 22 convicted while 207 cases were still pending.
She decried the alarming rate of oil theft in the state, stressing that it needs the determination of security operatives to tame the scourge.
Amakiri said the command in August last year stormed over 16 sites where oil was illegally refined, adding that with the persistent clamp down on the illegal activities, oil theft and bunkering has reduced in the state.
“Based on the available evidence against the accused persons, we are very sure of securing their convictions as we continue to prosecute the cases very diligently,” she stated.
“Judging by the convictions secured which vary from three years imprisonment and above for offences like illegal dealings in petroleum products, floating of illegal refineries and oil theft, and coupled with our uncompromising posture in arresting and prosecuting these vandals, illegal activities along the pipelines have drastically reduced in the last 12 months,” the commandant stressed.
She stated that the command destroyed thousands of drums of adulterated and illegally refined petroleum products as well as many illegal refineries and dumps in the creeks.
“We are not relenting in our surveillance of these illegal sites to arrest anyone that attempts to put them back in operation,” she added.
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