On Friday, February 28, 2021, members of the Association of Refineries and Petroleum Marketers, ANRPM, and men from the Inspector General of Police’s Special Task Force on Petroleum & Illegal Bunkering Unit from Force Headquarters in Abuja busted a gang of suspected oil thieves of Petroleum products at Church Gate, close to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja, the Federal Capital City.
The team arrived at the storage facility tucked in a supposed private residence at the Church Gate residence belonging to one Chijioke, led by the National Task Force Chairman, Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a Akpodoro, and discovered a large amount of stolen petroleum products.
Occupants of the residence, including Chijioke, reportedly scaled the fence upon seeing the taskforce team and fled, leaving behind one Mr. Chinasa Ogbonna and Ms. Olamide, Secretary and Accountant to the owner of the facility (dump), where the products were stored in large storage tanks, trucks, and jerry cans numbering approximately 200.
The Taskforce Team immediately sealed off the facility, and the secretary and accountant were arrested and taken to the police anti-vandalism team’s office for further investigation.
Speaking, Akpodoro said the exercise was in continuation of what the Taskforce is doing across the states of the federation, even as he noted that the team would not allow criminal elements to kill the economy of the nation in their unwholesome activities. He further highlighted the need to stop oil thieves from adulterating and stealing Petroleum products saying they (suspected oil thieves) are responsible for several fire incidents recorded lately in the country owing to adulteration of Petroleum products that are easily combustible in the event of road crashes across the country.
According to Akpodoro, who is a notable ex-militant leader and former scribe of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, the operatives of the ANRPM have made tremendous efforts in the states where his team has discovered million tonnes of stolen petroleum products stored in suspicious circumstances across the country noting that Imo, Cross River, Edo and River States are most complicit in the illicit trade in stolen petroleum products.
He further maintained that the Taskforce Team won’t rest on its oars until perpetrators are brought to justice across the states of the federation while commending the office of the IGP on its prompt response and collaboration with the ANRPM operatives to stamp out criminal elements within the ranks of petroleum products marketers in the country saying the downstream oil sector of the petroleum industry has suffered enough in the hands of those he described as notorious forces in the distribution chain of petroleum products.
Working further on credible intelligence gathered by the men of ANRPM, the team also bust another dump site at the Mabushi area of the Federal Capital Territory where a seeming tank farm for stolen petroleum products is domicile. The illegal storage facility is allegedly owned and maintained by one chief Obi Marthias a.k.a Obikoko, who is said to be the Chief Executive Officer of P & C Oil & Gas LTD Company.