By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
No fewer that 14 suspected pipeline vandals were apprehended by the police in Uhunmwode Local Government Area of Edo State.
The suspects were said to have been arrested by operatives of the ‘X-Squad’ of the Zone 5 police headquarters in Benin at about 2:30a.m. on November 26.
It was learnt that over 700 jerrycans filled with petroleum products suspected to have been stolen from a pipeline belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Obazagbon village were recovered.
Also recovered from the suspected vandals were four buses loaded with the jerrycans, a Mercedes-Benz 190 car, an Audi car and an unregistered motorcycle.
THISDAY also that the suspected vandals, who operated as a syndicate specialised in oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism, had attempted to escape with the stolen products before they were overpowered by the police.
According to the Zone 5 Police Public Relations Officer, Emeka Iheanacho, who confirmed the arrest, “On November 26, 2016, operatives of zonal X-Squad while acting on credible intelligence, arrested 14 suspected vandals, who specialise in oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism.”
The suspects, he said were arrested at about 2:30a.m. along Obazagbon village, Uhunmwode Local Government Area of Edo State, while trying to escape with the stolen products.
He stated that while investigation is ongoing, the suspects would soon be charged to court.
However, Iheanacho disclosed that suspects have made useful statement that would lead to the arrest of other members of the syndicate.