From Ben Dunno, Warri
Indigenes of Eghoro community in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State have applauded the military Joint Task Force under Sector 1 Command, Operation ‘Delta Safe’, over the arrest of a notorious leader of a cartel that specialises in vandalising and stealing of oil installations in the area.
The gang leader, 39-year-old Silver Endurance, an indigene of Isoko North Council Area, was said to have masterminded reported cases of vandalism and theft of oil installations, especially Well-Heads, which were sold to standby buyers in Warri and other near-by markets.
A community spokesman, Chief Richard Atare, who made the disclosure in a chat with newsmen in Warri on Saturday, said this same gang leader and his men were arrested by the JTF sometime in August last year in an attempt to steal a Well-Head, and handed over to police for prosecution but were later released.
According to him, ‘when this same leader of the cartel that had been responsible for the vandalisation and theft of oil installations in our communities was arrested alongside his gang members in August last year and handed over to the police for prosecution, we were suprised to see them being released by the police for lack of evidence to prosecute them then.
‘The reason tendered by the police then was not acceptable to us because their arrest then was based on intel by the military JTF who synergied with the community indigenes in tracking them to the spot where they were about to damage and cart away the Well-Head in our community before they were rounded-up and arrested.
‘So, we were taking aback to hear the excuse of lack of evidence to prosecute them given by the police last year and that prompted us to redoubled our surveillance network in our communities to ensure we track them down at the point where they had succeeded in removing and carrying away the Well-head out of our area to bring in the military JTF.
‘We are particularly grateful to the Sector 1 Commander, ‘Operation Delta Safe’, Col Sanni Ahmed, and his operational officers, who were in constant touch with the locals during the period the tracking was going on and it was based on their commitment that made the re- arrest of these same set of criminals possible”.
‘The latest arrest was made on March 20, 2021, at about 12:30 pm at a Ashaka Community in Isoko North Council area, at the point the the stolen Well-Head was loaded in a truck and was about being taking to a potential buyer in Warri, who we learnt encourages the vandals to get him the Well-Heads in some of the neighbouring communities.’
Chief Atare also revealed that it was during the course of interrogation that the gang leader gave the identity and location of deputy, one Isaiah Accra, who was later arrested at his residence in Oleh, also an Isoko Isoko community.
‘We learnt they are selling these stolen oil facilities to particular trade operating within Enerhen Enerhen Community close to Warri and we want to appeal that the military JTF to go after him and bring him to justice.’
He noted that the business of oil installations vandalism and crude oil theft across the region can never stop until the traders who seats in their comfort zones and sent these criminals who are usually their foot soldiers to go and get these parts and stolen crude for them at all cost are brought to justice.