The Nigeria Police Force has said that the rich and wealthy Nigerians indicted by suspected oil thieves would be prosecuted, if found culpable in oil pipeline vandalism.
A suspected pipeline vandal, Ismaila Sulaiman, who was arrested recently, had said rich Nigerians were behind the vandalism of pipelines and theft of petroleum products.
He had said, “It is a very big business sponsored by very rich Nigerians. We load more than 10 tankers before we relocate to another spot for fear that law enforcement agents might trace us. I do not know how they got wind of this deal because we normally have a very strong security arrangement.”
Suleiman had been arrested with four others by operatives of the Special Task Force on Anti-Vandalism, which was set up by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Abubakar.
However, the Assistant Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, told our correspondent that the police were investigating the allegation of sponsorship levelled against some rich Nigerians by suspected oil vandals.
He said, “Our survival as a nation lies with our revenue base and the nation’s economy lies with oil exploration. I can assure you that in our efforts to clean up the petroleum sector, if in the course of our investigations we find out that rich Nigerians are involved in the crime, we will stop at nothing to bring the perpetrators to book.
“Crimes have immediate devastating effect and every crime is a minus to us. Oil theft is a minus to this nation.”
Mba further disclosed that police task force had been merged with the Joint Task Force to enhance the campaign against oil theft.
He said, “In order to form a synergy with other security an agency, the unit was scrapped, while the members would work with the JTF to streamline the work for more efficient delivery of results.”