The Defence Headquarters has revealed about 120,000 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) valued at N17 million illegally siphoned from vandalised Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipelines have so far been recovered.
The Director of Defence Information (DDI) Brig.-Gen. John Agim made the revelation in Lagos.
He said operatives of the military attached to the security initiative of the armed forces, tagged Operation AWATSE made the recovery adding that efforts would intensified to ensure that criminals who punctured NNPC pipelines and steal fuel are deterred.
He spoke in Lagos insisting that all vehicles and building seized from the vandals are still in the custody of the military and that the Federal Government would decide what happens to such seized assets.
Gen. Agim said that within the last one year, a total of 26 suspected cultists, armed robbers and other criminal elements were arrested by military operatives attached to Operation AWATSE and that most of the suspects have been handed over to relevant prosecuting agencies for further investigation and possible prosecution, while the Headquarters 81 Division Provost is investigating some cases.
His words, “Operation AWATSE’s mandate is the protection of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipelines and infrastructure along the 72 km stretch of pipelines from Atlas Cove to Mosimi Depot and conduct of operations against anti-kidnapping, anti-robbery and related criminal activities including the security of Epe and Ogun Waterside in Lagos and Ogun States.
“Prior to the launch of Operation 777 on 8 October 2018, Operation AWATSE had recorded successes in curbing the aforementioned criminal activities in its Joint Operations Area (JOA).
“Notwithstanding, targeted pipeline vandalism and oil theft still occurred intermittently particularly in isolated areas where NNPC pipelines are located.
“Also, the activities of cultists particularly the AIYE and EIYE confraternities re-emerged in Ikorodu and Sagamu areas of Lagos and Ogun States respectively, with resultant negative impact on the safety of lives and properties.”
The Defence Spokesman said Operation AWATSE operational activities have been aimed at denying criminals freedom of action and migration, and making of arrests where possible.
He said that the achievements recorded by Operation AWATSE were made possible by the support of locals, nothing that, “the willingness on the part of the good citizens of Lagos and Ogun states to live in a society devoid of crime.”