The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), has arrested a marine welder, Iyamba Edem-Iyamba, for attempting to vandalise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline in Calabar.
Mr Samuel Fadeyi, Commandant of NSCDC in Cross River, who paraded the suspect on Monday in Calabar, said he was arrested by personnel of NSCDC on Sept. 13, 2022 in Calabar South.
Fadeyi said that on Aug. 26 2022, men of NSCDC on patrol discovered a tunnel that was been dug from Mettle Energy and Gas company, leading to the NNPC pipeline that comes from the jetty.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had earlier reported that NSCDC had paraded the private security guard of Mettle Energy and Gas Company, Gabriel Ajom, in connection with the crime, before launching a manhunt that led to the arrest of Edem-Iyamba who was at large.
According to the Commandant, Edem-Iyamba was the mastermind of the group that attempted to vandalise the NNPC pipeline by digging a tunnel with the intention to breach the fuel distribution from the NNPC pipeline.
“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 in his hideout in Calabar South. The federal high court is back from vacation and we are going to arraign them in court accordingly.
“A similar thing happened in the same company in 2020 and one of their tanks was used to syphon petroleum product from the NNPC pipeline.
“Five persons were convicted in 2020 for vandalising the NNPC pipeline and they served their jail term including forfeiting some cars and other property to the Federal Government,” he said.
According to him, the Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi, was 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-strategise on the fight against oil theft, adding that it has so far yielded positive results.
“A few individuals cannot be gaining through sabotaging the economy at the detriment of other Nigerians.
“All hands are on deck and we are working in synergy with other security agencies to see that oil theft and pipeline vandalism is stopped, especially in the Niger Delta region,” said.
The suspect, Edem-Iyamba, who said he was a marine welder, told NAN in an interview that he was lured into the illegal act because he wanted to make money.
“I was arrested in connection with an attempt to vandalise the NNPC pipeline. I know that what I did is bad; I am pleading with NSCDC to forgive me, I won’t be involved in this again.
“We were four that dug the tunnel, the other three persons came in from Portharcourt,” he said.