Troops arrest suspected pipeline bombers in N’Delta

Troops of Operation Pulo Shield (OPS), formerly known as Joint Task Force (JTF) have arrested some suspects for the recent attacks of oil pipelines and installations in the Niger Delta region.

The Commander, OPS, Maj.-Gen. Alani Okunlola, in a statement signed by the Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, Col. Ado Isa, said the suspects were undergoing investigations.

Okunlola said the investigations would determine the culpability of suspects before transferring them to relevant prosecuting agencies.

He said the troops were on manhunt for other hoodlums who were on the run.

But the commander failed to indicate the number of persons arrested by the operatives.

He said, “The success of the arrest was due to highly intensified patrols and cordon-and-search operations on the waterways, creeks and communities by the outfit.”

Suspected militants recently vandalised some oil and gas pipelines across the Niger Delta including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation gas pipeline in Egwa 1, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State and Agip pipelines in Brass LGA of Bayelsa State.

Okunlola further said that the troops had intensified patrols and cordon-and-search within their Area of Responsibility (AoR).

The commander also assured the people of Niger Delta of the OPS’ determination to tackle all acts of illegalities in the region.

He appealed to them to give useful information that would aid the Joint Force in its operations in line with its mandate in the Niger Delta.

He further warned the perpetrators of the crimes to desist from further destruction of oil facilities or be ready to face the full wrath of the law.

Also, the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) called on the host communities to protect oil and gas pipelines in their domains against vandalism to save the environment from widespread pollution.

The National Coordinator, CEPEJ, Mr. Sheriff Mulade, urged oil-rich communities to see the installations in their domain as theirs and ensure vandals steer clear of them.

Mulade bemoaned incessant destruction of pipelines by vandals insisting that the quest for ill-gotten wealth was destroying the environment.

He said the damage done to the environment by pipeline vandals would take many years to reclaim and warned against self-destruction arising from illegal bunkering by the locals.

He said: “People should know that they are polluting their environment through vandalism and this illicit trade.  The effect of pollution on the environment is massive especially the health hazards, erosion of livelihoods and all that.

“Therefore, we should know that when we destroy the environment, we are intentionally destroying ourselves because the environment is our only heritage.”

Mulade said adequate measures should be put in place to check the unwholesome activities of oil thieves and vandals and advised security agencies to adopt intelligence gathering mechanism to track the perpetrators.

He also advised the Federal Government to investigate security agents stationed at the facilities following allegations that they were conniving with vandals for their selfish interest.  

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