Personnel of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Cross River State Tuesday set ablaze a tanker loaded with adulterated diesel from illegal refinery in Odukpani Local Government Area of the state. On June 10, the same tanker with registration number URU-34XA Imo State was impounded with adulterated diesel by men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army in Calabar and Spokesman of the JTF, Captain Joseph James, said the NSCDC operatives handed over the truck to the JTF. James explained that the tanker was set ablaze because after undergoing a laboratory test at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yard in Calabar, the product tested positive.
He also revealed that members of the JTF also intercepted a tanker and arms from suspected bunkerers some months ago, along Calabar-Odukpani highway. “Oil theft and illegal bunkering has been one of the challenges facing the state in recent times,’’ he said, adding that the JTF made up of the Nigerian Army, Air force, Navy, Police and the NSCDC, is working tirelessly to eradicate oil theft in the state.
The two suspects, Chika Ozoemene and Abel Enya, the spokesman added, had been handed over to the NSCDC for prosecution. “I want members of the public to have confidence in what JTF is doing in the state and report suspected oil theft to JTF as their identity will be protected. “The fight against oil theft in the state and Nigeria is a collective responsibility of all individuals, not only the JTF,’’ he said. James appealed for accurate information from the public, saying it would help the JTF to apprehend perpetrators of the illegal act.
“Anybody with useful information on oil theft should visit the JTF headquarters at 13 Brigade Nigerian Army Calabar,” James said, adding that: “The suspects voluntarily confessed that the contents are adulterated.” One of the suspects, Ozoemene confessed in an interview with journalists, saying: “I have been fully engaged in oil theft for a long period of time now, if am released out of here, I will live a better life.’’ He said he was lured into the illegal act by his friends after failing to secure a good means of livelihood.