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NSCDC decries activities of oil theft syndicates in Bayelsa

By News Express on 25/02/2018

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Bayelsa Command, says the activities of a powerful oil theft syndicate in the state are tarnishing the image of the organisation and its efforts against economic saboteurs.

Speaking on Saturday in Yenagoa, the state capital, Mr Godwin Nwachukwu, the state NSCDC Commandant, said that allegations that officials of the Command shot a vigilance team member were untrue.

He said that criminal oil theft syndicates who were sabotaging the efforts of the Command to safeguard national assets in the oilfields located in the state were behind the allegations to divert attention from ongoing massive oil theft.

He maintained that officials of the Command were well trained in handling arms and do not use firearms indiscriminately.

His words: “There are efforts to distract us, blackmail us and divert attention from our war against oil theft and vandalism on oil infrastructure which affects the environment and the nation’s economy.

“Ikarama is notorious for oil theft, pipeline vandalism and the syndicate has always adopted various devilish strategies to frustrate the efforts of the NSCDC to stop their practices, despite the antics of these evil merchants, we remain resolute to end this economic crime.

“In the early hours of Monday our anti-vandal team based in Ikarama community responded to a case of sabotage on oil pipeline in the area, our men did not release a single gunshot even amidst provocation, they were professional in the operation.

“Though the prime suspect escaped, we were able to arrest a woman who works with him and knew his whereabouts, the woman was interrogated and later released.

“We did not shoot or injure anybody, the claim is not true.”

Nwachukwu said that the Command however responded to the allegations of shooting an indigene out of its sensitivity to human rights of citizens and embarked on a fact-finding mission and offered to take the supposed victim to hospital.

“We requested before the king to take the so called victim to a hospital of their choice for medical examination, but the community refused. We cannot succumb to any plot by vandals and their sponsors to stop us from carrying our lawful duties,” Nwachukwu said.

He vowed that the “spurious allegations” would not deter the Command from its mandate.

According to him, the officials deployed to protect oil facilities at Ikarama community shot in self-defense when attacked by the community youths.

He explained that the Command acted in response to reports of persistent sabotage on oil facilities by deploying men to arrest suspects behind the vandalism.

The Commandant said that after the earlier operation on February 20, members of the community had ambushed men of the NSCDC who were on their legitimate duties at the oilfields.

According to Nwachukwu, the community people demobilised the metal bridge that serves as exit to trap the NSCDC men.

“In the face of the threat my men acted in self-defense and fired two warning shots into the air to scare away the hostile crowd armed with dangerous weapons, no one was shot at, and no one was injured,” he explained.

However, Chief Richard Seiba, the traditional ruler of Ikarama, in his reaction to the alleged shooting of one Mr Perekurofa Odoyibo, alleged that NSCDC officials shot the victim who is currently receiving medical attention.

“What the Civil Defence people did was regrettable. They shot the boy twice in the arm and leg. I have just visited him and he is in pains,” the monarch said.

Mr Ben Warder, a youth leader in the area, also said that personnel of the Bayelsa Command of NSCDC had visited the victim at home where he was being treated with local herbs.

“We are at a loss why the same people who denied shooting of our youths came and wanted to take away the victim; they came with so much force and did not tell us that they were taking him to hospital.

“That was why we refused, they must first accept responsibility for what happened, and that we believe is the first logical step to resolving this,” the youth leader said.

Source News Express

Posted 25/02/2018 09:10:17 AM


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