By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
CALABAR—Joint Task Force, JTF, tagged Operation Pulo Shield, set up by the Federal Government to rid the maritime environment of criminal elements in the Eastern waterways, has arrested an Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, over alleged illegal oil bunkering. The security outfit also uncovered and raided an expansive oil depot, where diesel was stored in drums in Calabar, Cross River State capital.
Illegal oil bunkering in Calabar and Bakassi Local Government Areas of the state seems to have persisted, despite the clampdown on perpetrators of the illegal business.
Public Relations Officer of 13 Brigade, Nigeria Army, Captain Joseph James, said the latest discovery of illegal bunkering and the arrests were as a result of intelligence gathering by the Army.
Captain James said the raid by JTF was led by Major Abdulmaleek Mohammed of the Brigade, adding that six persons had been arrested, including a serving Police ASP, who was one of those behind the illegal oil bunkering.
He said: “Following a tip-off, the Commander of 13 Brigade, Brigadier-General Shehu Yusuf, immediately ordered the JTF to raid the depot, which is in a hideout, off Mesembe Avenue, in the Anantigha area and close to the headquarters of the Calabar South Local Government Area of the state.
“As you can see, there are nearly 8,000 drums of fuel and diesel well arranged here. You can also see how they expertly dredged this canal to enable these boats bring in these products from wherever.
“It appears that the illegal bunkering business had been on for some time before the intelligence report came in.”