The Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in Bayelsa, on Sunday warned oil thieves and pipeline vandals in the area to steer clear of the infrastructure or risk crackdown by the law.
The Commandant of NSCDC in the state, Mrs Christiana Abiakam, who gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa, said that the corps was committed to stopping the crime.
She said that the command was determined to overcome the obstacles before it.
She said that to that end, the corps would work collaboratively with sister security agencies in joint operations to sustain the stability so far achieved in the crude oil operational environment for increased oil production.
“We will not be deterred by the challenges before us.
“We have resolved to sustain the fight against economic crime by oil thieves and vandals of oil facilities and we have sent warnings to them.
“With our intensified and intelligence-driven operations, the criminals will have no option other than to turn a new leaf or leave the state.
“We are also hopeful; we are encouraged by the support of the Federal Government to security agencies by way of equipment to tackle insecurity,” Abiakam said.
NAN reports that intensified crackdown on oil thieves and illegal refiners in the state in the past six weeks has triggered the scarcity of kerosene in Bayelsa as most households have been left with no option than to patronise merchants of illegally refined kerosene.
NAN further reports that NSCDC, in collaboration with the Joint Task Force, has raided notorious illegal refining sites at Okaki, a neighbouring settlement in Rivers and Nembe in Bayelsa, and subsequently cut the supply chain for illicitly refined kerosene.
Checks by NAN in Yenagoa and environs indicated that the bulk of kerosene and diesel used by residents in Bayelsa were sourced from the two sites which were destroyed by troops.
It was further gathered that residents preferred kerosene sourced from the ‘local refineries‘ because it is cheaper and , burns slowly, lasting longer than the ones sourced from the established distribution channels.
A 75 centilitre plastic bottle for the ‘Asari’ (illegally refined) increased from N100 to N250, while the 150 centilitre bottle which was sold for N200 now sells for N500.