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Army arrests 12 oil thieves, fake soldier

by Admin

By  Dennis Naku

The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Rivers State said, on Tuesday, that its troops arrested 12 oil thieves and an alleged fake soldier, Desmond Okeh.

According to the army, the suspected oil thieves were caught in the act of illegal oil bunkering and  siphoning crude oil from the Rumuekpe/Okporowo pipeline near Okoba community in the Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The Garrison Commander, Brig. Gen. Edi Effiong, disclosed this while parading the suspects before newsmen.

Effiong, who is also the Commander of Sector 3, Operation Delta Safe Military Joint Task Force, said the suspects would be handed over to the appropriate agency for prosecution.

He stated, “These ones that have been nabbed, first of all, we will profile them. We are not the prosecuting agency, so, we will hand them over to the prosecuting agency.

“For oil bunkering activities, it is the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps that is in charge. (We will hand them over) after profiling and getting some information from them.

“We are here to checkmate illegal bunkering activities in the Niger Delta, because if we do not checkmate these activities, they will affect us and the economy.

“So, we want to ensure that the oil bunkers are not given the freedom to do whatever they want so as not to affect us in terms of the economy.”

Earlier, the spokesperson for the Division, Lt. Col. Ikedichi Iweha, said the fake soldier was from Okija in Anambra State, saying it was the second time he would be nabbed for the same crime.

He said the suspect was arrested on July 6 by the 6 Division Provost Group at a new generation bank in the GRA axis of Port Harcourt.

According to him, Okeh was fully kitted out in military camouflage and paraded a fake military identity card, bearing ‘Lance Corporal Okeh Desmond’,  with a fake duty number: 16NA/75/2038.

The army said it recovered a fake pass leaflet from the suspect.

“Upon interview, the suspect revealed that he bought the camouflage material at Kotuku Barracks in Kaduna and sewed it at a tailoring shop.

“While he claimed to have bought the boots from vendors opposite the Alaba International Market in Lagos, in his revelations, he said he got the fake pass from a cyber cafe, which printed it for him at the control roundabout in Imo State,” the army spokesperson said.

He advised members of the public to be wary, as not everybody in military camouflage is a soldier.

Speaking to newsmen, Okeh, however, said it was his love for the army that made him commit the offence.

“I applied to the Nigerian Army in 2016, but I was not successful.

“I got carried away by the fact that my friends got accepted into the army and  anytime they come around, I feel like I am one of them. That is why I went and bought the uniform and sewed it,” he stated.

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