NSCDC's Renewed Vigour in Combatting Pipeline Vandalism – THISDAY Newspapers

Chiemelie Ezeobi reports that for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad, its renewed vigour to combat and stamp out pipeline vandalism is paying off given the successes recorded in mopping up the perpetrators 
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is a paramilitary institution in Nigeria that was established in May 1967 with the act of the National Assembly. 
Amended in 2007 to enhance the statutory duties of the corp, it was commissioned to provide measures against threat and any form of attack or disaster against the nation and its citizenry. The Corps is empowered to institute legal proceedings by or in then and of the Attorney General of the Federation in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against any person or persons suspected to have committed an offence, maintain an armed squad in order to bear fire arms among others to strengthen the corps in the discharge of its statutory duties
The NSCDC was first introduced in May 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War within the then Federal Capital Territory of Lagos for the purpose of sensitisation and protection of the civil populace. It was then known as Lagos Civil Defence Committee but later metamorphosed into the present day NSCDC in 1970. 
In 1984, the Corps was transformed into a National security outfit and in 1988, there was a major re-structuring of the Corps that led to the establishment of Commands throughout the Federation, including Abuja, and the addition of special functions by the federal government. 
On 28 June 2003, an Act to give statutory backing to the NSCDC passed by the National Assembly was signed into law by the President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Formation of Special SquadGiven the scope of its responsibilities, the Corps has been championing the fight against illegalities, including pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft.
To this end, NSCDC Commandant General, Ahmed Abubakar Audi, in his renewed vigour to combat the uprising menace of illegal dealings in petroleum products, set up the Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad led by ACC Dandaura Samu Appollos and his second in command, Luka Bagalmat.
The unit in recent time has succeeded in clamping down on illegal oil dump sites, the destruction of artisanal refineries, while several trucks conveying the products have been impounded. Also some suspects have been arrested and are undergoing prosecution.
According to the NSCDC boss, “Owing to the critical nature of these assets and infrastructure to national security and socio-economic development, adequate security is now being emplaced to safeguard the country’s Critical National Assets and Infrastructure by this Corps. 
“In this connection, the newly established Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad has been taking proactive and pragmatic steps through discrete investigation and intelligence gathering to track down these criminal elements to avert and checkmate their criminal intentions. 
“This squad also provides back-up to the states’ Special Forces and Anti-Vandal Squad in curtailing crime and criminality.”
Essentially, the Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad, which is deployed nationwide,  carries out microscopic investigation and monitoring of oil pipelines in the state in a bid to curtail vandals involved in nefarious activities of oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and other related matters.
And because oil theft must be checked, the Corp is all out for a strategic fight by intensifying the war against illegal oil bunkering and also illegal activities by vandals and other miscreants in the state. To do this, they have been vigorously carrying out series of marine operations and land operations nationwide to ensure effective service delivery.
Successes Recorded This year, the squad has recorded so many successes. On January 22, 2022, two suspected oil thieves were arrested at an illegal bunkering site in Emohua LGA of the state.
On January 28, 2022 at Rumuekpe in Emohua LGA, nine suspected oil thieves were arrested with illegally refined AGO and DPK stacked in three different SUB Toyota cars.
“On January 31, 2022, along Abonnema Wharf Road, the Command recovered a Black Volkswagen Golfcar with Reg. No. Lagos TE769XAA loaded with unspecified quantity of suspected illegally refined AGo.
Also within the same area, and time, a green Honda Accord car with registration number Lagos, KRD116EH loaded with unspecified quantity of suspected illegally refined AGO concealed in sacks was recovered from the suspect named Jack Ofonye.
On February 1, 2022, in a renewed effort to end oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and illegal oil refining activities in Rivers State, the Rivers Command also impounded three vehicles laden with unspecified quantity of suspected illegally refined AGO concealed in sack bags.
Vehicles recovered were as follow, a black Sequoia Jeep with registration number Abuja GWA422JF; Chevrolet white bus with registration number Rivers AFM222XA and a white Chevrolet express bus with registration number Abuja GWA967YR.
In Rivers Command, about 20 suspected oil thieves were  arrested. Parading the suspects, alongside 11 trucks, 10 salon cars and buses laden with suspected illegally refined Automotive Gasoline Oil, NSCDC Commandant in Rivers State, Abdu Tambuwal, said there is no hiding place for criminals in the state.
In Ondo State, on April 21, 2022, the Special Intelligence Squad burst an illegal bunkering syndicate. The syndicate specialises in  vandalising petroleum pipelines, illegal bunkering activities, dealings in illegal adulterated petroleum products and operating illegal dump/storage facilities at Olowo Community, Odigbo Local Government Area, Ondo state.
Eight suspects were arrested at the scene who were loading the suspected adulterated products into the storage. Also s black Toyota Sequoia with registration number Lagos APP 134 DX loaded with 70 kegs of 25 litres of adulterated AGO and 28 kegs of 25litres each of suspected adulterated AGO were moved from the crime scene, as well we six pumping machines and one counting machine.
Also at the dump site which has been sealed and secured, the following exhibits were also recovered: 19kegs of 25litres of adulterated AGO, five drums of 200 litres of suspected AGO, two drums of 200 litres capacity that is half filled and two drums of 200litres capacity that is about quarter filled. 
Others are two storage tanks with 3500 litres of adulterated AGO each. An underground storage tanks with four compartments were also discovered at the crime scene. The first compartment was empty, the second compartment had 2,800 litres , the third compartment contained 1,500 litres while the fourth compartment had 16,500 litres of adulterated AGO.
On June 13, 2022, with intelligence from the squad, the Commandant General’s Special Anti-Vandal Monitoring Unit (SAVMU) dislodged five illegal refineries in Delta South Local Government Area of Delta State, where adulterated petroleum products were produced and distributed to unsuspecting users across the country.
Two suspects were nabbed during the operation while other collaborators remained at large. The intelligence report however, revealed that the site belongs to three individuals which consist of one  woman and two other men currently in NSCDC custody and are volunteering information to assist in carrying out further investigation.
Quote Owing to the critical nature of these assets and infrastructure to national security and socio-economic development, adequate security is now being emplaced to safeguard the country’s Critical National Assets and Infrastructure by this Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad
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