NSCDC Arrests Five As Fire Guts Exhibit Yard In Rivers

THE Rivers State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested five suspects following a mysterious fire that razed its exhibit yard.

The fire destroyed impounded trucks laden with illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) at the yard located in Iriebe, Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.

The Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSC. Olufemi Ayodele, in a statement on Tuesday, explained parts of the exhibits were already forfeited by a court order.

He said that the affected yard was allocated to the Rivers command about 10 years ago following the increasing number of impounded trucks linked to illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining of petroleum products.
He said the then government ordered the relocation of such exhibits from the command’s headquarters to the exhibit yard to stop the disruption of vehicular movements.

The statement further quoted the NSCDC Assistant Commandant-General in charge of Zone L comprising Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, ACG James Bassey as describing the incident as unfortunate.

Bassey linked the inferno to intensified efforts of the Rivers command to fight against vandalism and oil theft, which he said had led to the arrests and prosecution of many suspects.

He noted that the yard was jointly owned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) adding that efforts were made to stop the fire from spreading to private properties in the area.

He confirmed that as part of the ongoing investigation to unravel the cause of the fire, the command’s Intelligence and Anti-vandal team arrested five suspects.

The Rivers Commandant, Abu Tambuwal, vowed that those arrested in connection with the inferno would face the full wrath of the law describing the war against illegal bunkering as non-negotiable.

Tambuwal said the command under his watch remained resolute in its efforts to collaborate with other security agencies to tackle illegal oil businesses in Rivers.

He said: “Obviously this occurrence is an act of Sabotage by evil-minded persons who want to get back to the NSCDC at all cost; We will not be deterred in our dogged and resolute fight against vandalism of oil pipelines and illegal dealings in petroleum products.

“We thank the Federal and State Fire Services, the firefighters unit from Shell Petroleum Company and everyone who collaborated with the NSCDC and EFCC in curtailing the spread of the inferno across neighboring properties.

“The need for stronger synergy amongst security agencies is very paramount, most especially in the area of intelligence and information sharing as this would definitely enhance the security architecture of the State”.