The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command, said it has arrested a pregnant woman and 10 other suspects involved in allegations of illegal oil bunkering in the state.
NSCDC State Commander Dr. Hammed Abodunrin made the revelation during the parade of suspects ahead of Monday in Akure, the state capital.
Abodunrin explained that the suspects were arrested at Waterway in Iju-Osun, Irele local government area of the state with products believed to be adulterated diesel.
He explained that the quantity had not been established, but added that the product was packed in drums, polythene bags and jerry cans loaded into four wooden boats.
Abodunrin said the arrest of the suspects was in response to the NSCDC Commanding General’s directive to reorganize the corps’ anti-vandalism unit to bolster its operations.
He said the command had benefited from the recent deployment of gunboats to speed up operations in the waterways.
“All these efforts have started to yield positive results. On Sunday, 11 suspects were arrested with suspected adulterated AGO products.
“One of them is a very pregnant woman and two are minors, so we have decided not to take them into custody because of their condition.
“We have taken their statements, whenever we need them we will retrieve them and we will immediately investigate and bring them to justice as soon as we complete our investigation,” he said.
Abodunrin alleged that the suspects were unable to say where they got the shipment from and where they took it.
He warned criminals to stay away from the state as the body was determined to track, arrest and prosecute them.
The NSCDC Commander urged members of the public to be vigilant and always give adequate information to the body to stem the vandalism of critical national assets in the state.
“It’s a renewed fight against oil theft, against economic sabotage and a renewed fight to ensure that citizens can be sure of what their country can give them,” he said.
One of the boat operators said it was his first time selling petroleum products.
He told Nigeria’s NAN news agency that he was arrested with 20 drums of kerosene.
“I didn’t know it was illegal and I thought kerosene was what people could buy and sell.
“I’m not the one who really owns the product, I was driving a motorboat for someone,” he claimed.