The Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) said Monday that it had arrested 19 people on suspicion of stealing oil in southern Nigeria’s River State in recent operations against vandalism.
The suspects were found on Friday and Saturday with three tanker trucks, a large wooden boat, and many liters of petroleum products that were thought to be illegally-made diesel, said Abu Tambuwal, head of Nigeria’s paramilitary agency in the state.
He said they made the arrests and seizures to support the state government’s campaign against illegal refineries partly responsible for the soot pollution in the state.
“We launched this operation to put an end to the destruction of aquatic life and agricultural products caused by oil spillage orchestrated by acts of illegal bunkering,” he added.
The officer said NSCDC investigators were currently grilling the 19 suspects and made clear that they would be charged in court if they were found culpable of the crime.