Police, civil defence clash over ‘illegal oil bunkering site’ in Rivers

The police in Rivers State, Nigeria’s South-south, have narrated how their operatives clashed with the personnel of a sister security agency – the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) – over an alleged illegal oil bunkering site in the state.

The police spokesperson in the state, Grace Iringe-Koko, in a statement in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, said police operatives who visited the illegal refining site at Ogbogoro community for an operation, were resisted by armed officials of the NSCDC.

Ms Iringe-Koko, a deputy superintendent of police, said the Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, George Ariolu visited the site with a detachment of police operatives led by Akika Solomon, an assistant commissioner of police.

She said armed civil defence officials, about 20 of them, prevented the chairman’s team from having access to the site.

“They were eventually disarmed and arrested by the police before Ariolu had access into the depot,” she said.

“We are fully committed to fighting the war against illegal oil bunkering to a logical conclusion,” she said.

In his reaction, Bature Aliyu, the NSCDC Commandant in Rivers, dismissed claims that the site was used for illegal oil activities.

“The marine exhibit yard in Ogbogoro jetty is not an illegal bunkering site.

“It is a holding bay used by NSCDC to detain boats, vessels, barges and drums used for illegal oil bunkering,” he said.

Mr Aliyu, who spoke through an Assistant Commandant of Corps, Michael Oguntuase, said that NSCDC’s Commandant-General, Ahmed Audi, visited and endorsed the site in 2021.

“So, the yard is NSCDC’s marine exhibits yard and not an illegal dump.

“Most of the exhibits there were arrested by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to us, while some of the arrests were made by us.

“The Ogbogoro jetty is a no-go area for anybody because destroying the yard means destroying the exhibits,” he said.

Mr Aliyu urged members of the public to report any NSCDC personnel found culpable of oil theft, illegal bunkering and vandalism in the state.

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has declared war on operators of illegal refineries in the state.

The governor recently accused the police and the civil defence of aiding and abetting the operation of illegal refineries in the state.

(NAN)

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