The Akwa Ibom State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has declared war on oil thieves in the state with the launch of the state-of-the-art gunboat
The launch of the gunboat in Ikot Abasi local government area of the state was witnessed by representatives of the Nigerian Navy,Nigeria Police Force, Department of StateSecurity, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Correctional Service and the Federal Road Safety Corps.
Speaking at the launch, the State NSCDC Commandant, Suleiman Mafara, lamented the alarming statistics of oil theft in the Niger Delta region which, he noted,was carried out at an industrial scale, adding that, with the launch of the gunboat, operatives of the command would fight the menace both on land and water.
“These acts of economic sabotage by daredevil criminals and enemies of the state take place in creeks, tributaries, inlets and rivers where they siphon crude oil from pipelines through illegal plugins and send to illegal refineries.
“With this gunboat and in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and Marine Police, activities of vandals in Akwa Ibom State waterways can be checked.
“The import of this launch is enormous as the reduction in oil theft occasioned by this war is tantamount to increase in revenue for Ikot Abasilocal government area, Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria,” Marafa said.
While admonishing the youths to look for legitimate business as the command hasdeclared a full-scale war, the NSCDC boss appealed for support from sister security agencies, the traditional institution, local government chairmen and the people of Akwa Ibom State.
The head of Anti-vandal Squad in the state, CSC Sunday Edem, stated that the capacity of his squad to effectively combat all forms of illegality in the oil and gas sector, including illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, oiltheft, illegal refining of petroleum products and adulteration, has been enhanced both on land and water.
He called for support from all stakeholders,including NUPENG and IPMAN, as the NSCDC intensifies its fight against oil theft in the state.
In his remarks, the chairman of Ikot Abasi local government, Mr Joshua Affia, described the gunboat launch as a significant addition to the security architecture of the riverine community with potential to guarantee safety of lives and businesses on the waterways.
The gunboat will patrol Akwa Ibom waterways from Ikot Abasi to Eket and Oron and complement the already existing securitynetwork.