BY EGUFE YAFUGBORHI
YENAGOA – THE Joint Task Force (JTF) in Bayelsa State has apprehended Joshua Orupere, for attempted cash inducement of the security outfit in efforts to regain two barges seized for alleged stolen crude oil.
The task force, better known as Operation Pulo Shield paraded the a 40-year-old man, Monday, for offering to bribe the Chief of Staff to the tune of $30,300 USD to gain the release of two vessels seized along the Sagama Rivers of Akasa Community in Brass Local Government.
The two vessels named MV Premier and MV Somtrans, with stolen crude oil estimated at 600,000 metric tonnes each were intercepted at the Sagana Kamboro creek by a joint operation by the 343 Artillery Regiments and the Sub-Sector two operatives led by Muktar Adamu in the early hours of Saturday.
The operation according to the JTF, lasted two days and with the help of four newly acquired AK 38 Army Boat from the office of the Chief Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubike Ihejirika.
Spokesperson of the JTF, Lt. Col. Onyeka Nwachukwu, said the seizure of the vessels and arrest of Joshua Orupere were as a result of the sustained security operation against illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
“The suspect has confessed to the crime and admitted being in charge of the arrested vessels at the time it was intercepted”, Mwanchukwu said.
The arrested owner of the seized vessels, Mr. Joshua Sopere, in a chat with newsmen said though one of the vessel was put in his care by one retired Air Force Commander (name withheld) from Sagana community of Brass Local Government, “both vessels were in my care at the time of arrest.”
He further said “They are condemned vessels converted to barges. I work for persons within and outside the region. I did not know the JTF Chief of Staff before but met him with link provided by the retired Air force Commander. My link advised that I raise money and offer as bribe and I went to Port Harcourt to raise over $30,000USD.”