By George Odok, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have arrested a marine welder, Iyamba Edem-Iyamba, in Calabar for attempting to vandalize NNPC’s pipeline.
The attempted vandalism would have facilitated the siphoning of petroleum products into the facility of a company, Mettle Energy and Gas Company if it had been successful.
“A similar thing happened in the same company in 2020 when one of the company’s tanks was used to siphon petroleum products from the NNPC pipeline.
“Five persons were convicted then for vandalizing the NNPC pipeline and they served their jail term.
“They forfeited some cars and other property to the Federal Government,’’ NSCD’s Commandant in Cross River, Mr. Samuel Fadeyi, said on Monday in Calabar, while parading Edem-Iyamba before newsmen.
He said NSCDC operatives arrested Edem-Iyamba on September 13 in Calabar South following cooperation received from the security man of Mettle Energy and Gas Company, Gabriel Ajom.
Ajom had earlier been arrested in connection with the crime.
Fadeyi said that on August 26, men of the NSCDC on patrol discovered a tunnel that was being dug from Mettle Energy and Gas Company, leading to the NNPC pipeline at the jetty.
According to the Commandant, Edem-Iyamba is the mastermind of the group that attempted to vandalize the pipeline and breach the distribution of petroleum products.
“At first, we arrested the security guard of Mettle Energy and Gas Company who gave us useful information about those that approached him for the illegal deal.
“The mastermind was hiding, but our men were able to track him to his hideout in Calabar South,’’ he said.
Fadeyi explained that NSCDC’s earlier decision to disband its anti-vandalism team and re-strategize the fight against fuel theft Is yielding positive results.
“A few individuals cannot be gaining at the detriment of other Nigerians by sabotaging the economy.
“All hands are on deck and we are working in synergy with other security agencies to ensure that oil theft and pipeline vandalism are stopped,’’ he said.
According to him, the Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Audi, is so passionate about the fight against illegal oil bunkering, oil theft, and pipeline vandalism.
He explained that Audi disbanded the NSCDC anti-vandal team with a view to re-strategize the fight against oil theft, adding that it has so far yielded positive results.
Fadeyi assured that the suspects would be arraigned after the investigation.
The suspect, Edem-Iyamba, who said he is a marine welder, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that desperation for money lured him into the act.
“I was arrested in connection with an attempt to vandalize the NNPC pipeline. I know what I did was bad; I am pleading with the NSCDC to forgive me, I won’t be involved in this again.
“We were four in number that dug the tunnel; the three other persons came in from Port Harcourt,’’ he told NAN.