The recent intense fight against crude oil theft which has crippled the Nation’s major source of revenue, has yielded results following arrest of oil syndicates and destruction of illegal refineries, popularly called kpofire.
On October 6, Tantita Security Services Limited, TSSL, owned by the leader of the moribund Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND) and high chief of Ijaw ethnic nationality, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, ambushed and apprehended eight members of a suspected crude oil syndicate while they were pumping crude oil from a Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, pipeline, in Delta State, into an improvised 87-meter-long ocean-going vessel, MT Deino.
At the time Tantita operatives swooped on the vessel, the team leader, Captain Temple Manaseh, from Bayelsa state, and seven other suspects had pumped 605 cubic meters of crude oil into the vessel with 12 compartments from an illegal connection they attached to a CNL crude pipeline, between Abiteye community and Escravos, Warri South-West Local Government Area.
Security agents had previously picked up the vessel, which bore an International Maritime Organization, IMO, number 7210526, in September, last year, for oil bunkering, but as emblematic, they released it.
This is coming as lately, TSSL and security operatives working with Tompolo uncovered a 4-km underwater theft pipeline connected to the sea from the Forcados Terminal with a loading port, and 58 tapping points in Delta and Bayelsa states through which oil thieves had been bleeding the country.
Information gathered from different sources have it that security officials involved in oil bunkering finance locals to carry out unlawful business in the creeks, provide security, and shield their camps from destruction by other security agents. Some top security officials in Abuja and Lagos, who are neck deep in the business, typically, use their strategic positions to intervene and cover the tracks for their men on the ground in the Niger Delta.
Meanwhile, the national leader of South-South and elder statesman, Senator Edwin Clark, Tuesday, fumed at the development, calling on the Federal Government to investigate the role of the Nigerian military and officials of NNPCL in the massive crude oil theft in the country.
“I want to advise the Federal Government to institute a judicial inquiry to investigate this criminal act of oil theft and also, to once again, appeal that jobs should be provided for the teeming unemployed youths…
“The news that there is an illicit four-kilometer pipeline through which crude oil is being siphoned goes to confirm what I have always said over the years, and what the leaders of the Niger Delta have been shouting about.That oil theft is being perpetuated by some mafia-like groups, with the connivance of some people in the oil industry, using sophisticated engineering methods to carry out their nefarious acts.
“Even more disturbing is that these activities have been going on over the years under the watchful eyes of the military and security personnel, who are supposed to be protecting these oil pipelines with many gunboats to patrol the area are, unfortunately, alleged to be involved in these criminal acts,” he said.