The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) says the corps has formulated new strategies to effectively reduce illegal oil bunkering within two months in Rivers.
NSCDC Commandant in Rivers, Mr Michael Ogar, told newsmen shortly after he took over the command of the corps in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Ogar said that Nigeria was losing over 200,000 barrels of crude oil daily attributed to the activities of illegal bunkers who break into pipelines to steal crude oil.
According to him, the stealing of crude oil from pipelines and subsequent illegal refining of the product had left serious consequences on both the environment and health of the people.
“So, I am here to fight and stop illegal bunkering in Rivers. In one or two months there will be a big difference in our achievements.
“It is no longer going to be business as usual because there is a new sheriff in town who is not going to compromise.
“We will destroy the illegal bunkering facilities as Rivers State can no longer accommodate oil thieves,” he said.
Ogar, who was NSCDC commandant in Imo before his latest posting, said he would re-strategise and fine tune the security architecture of the command, to achieve set objectives.
The commandant expressed optimism the adoption of a new strategy would reduce illegal bunkering to its barest minimum in the state.
“Under my command, anybody found to be involved in illegal bunkering would be arrested, investigated and prosecuted in court, if found culpable.
“We are not only going to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators alone but we will also extend it to their sponsors no matter how highly placed they are in the society.
“We are aware that there are some highly placed Nigerians involved in illegal bunkering of crude oil in the country.
“I appeal to the communities and traditional rulers to come forward with useful information about the locations of the illegal refining sites and their operators,” he said.
Ogar said though NSCDC did not have power to convict suspects but that it would henceforth investigate cases thoroughly, to ensure the court find it easy to convict suspects.
He said the command was willing to work with the media and other stakeholders to eliminate illegal bunkering to its barest minimum. (NAN)