By George Odok
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have arrested a marine welder, Iyamba Edem-Iyamba, in Calabar for attempting to vandalise NNPC’s pipeline.
The attempted vandalism would have facilitated the syphoning of petroleum products into the facility of a company, Mettle Energy and Gas Company, if it had been successful.
“A similar thing happened in the same company in 2020 when one of the company’s tanks was used to syphon petroleum products from the NNPC pipeline.
“Five persons were convicted then for vandalising the NNPC pipeline and they served their jail term.
“They forfeited some cars and other property to the Federal Government,’’ NSCD’s commandant in Cross River, Mr Samuel Fadeyi, said on Monday in Calabar, while parading Edem-Iyamba before newsmen.
He said NSCDC operatives arrested Edem-Iyamba on Sept. 13 in Calabar South following cooperation received from the security man of Mettle Energy and Gas Company, Gabriel Ajom.
Ajom had earlier been arrested in connection with the crime.
Fadeyi said that on Aug. 26, men of the NSCDC on patrol discovered a tunnel that was being dug from Mettle Energy and Gas Company, leading to the NNPC pipeline at the jetty.
According to the Commandant, Edem-Iyamba is the mastermind of the group that attempted to vandalise the pipeline and breach distribution of petroleum products.
“At first, we arrested the security guard of Mettle Energy and Gas Company who gave us useful information about those that approached him for the illegal deal.
“The mastermind was hiding, but our men were able to track him to his hideout in Calabar South,’’ he said.
Fadeyi explained that NSCDC’s earlier decision to disband its anti-vandalism team and re-strategise the fight against fuel theft was yielding positive results.
“A few individuals cannot be gaining at the detriment of other Nigerians by sabotaging the economy.
“All hands are on deck and we are working in synergy with other security agencies to ensure that oil theft and pipeline vandalism are stopped,’’ he said.
Fadeyi assured that the suspects would be arraigned at the conclusion of investigation.
The suspect, Edem-Iyamba, who said he was a marine welder, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that desperation for money lured him into the act.
“I was arrested in connection with an attempt to vandalise the NNPC pipeline. I know what I did was bad; I am pleading with the NSCDC to forgive me, I won’t be involved in this again.
“We were four in number that dug the tunnel; the three other persons came in from Port Harcourt,’’ he told NAN. (NAN)