DHQ, Nigerian police turn heat on oil thieves, economic saboteurs

DHQ, Nigerian police turn heat on oil thieves, economic saboteurs

The pressure piled on oil thieves, economic saboteurs and bandits by the military and the police have started yielding results.

The nation’s security has raised the tempo of their battle against those they described as enemies of the government’s plan to improve the economy.

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) and the police yesterday gave insights into the results of their declaration of war on the criminals.

Acting Inspector – General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun and Director of Defence Media Operations Maj-Gen. Edward Buba spoke at different events.

They warned that there would be no hiding place for anyone whose goal is to thwart the nation’s renewed drive for economic recovery.

Oil theft, which slowed down the country’s ability to meet its oil quota allocated by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been curtailed by improved security activities.

Gen. Buba said troops recovered 1,205,950 tonnes of stolen crude in one week in the Southsouth. Egbetokun said the Police would deal decisively with any one that plans ” to sabotage the economic revival that our country is about to witness.”

The IG also banned the production and sales of illegal firearms.

The Defence spokesman also said that troops of Operation Delta Safe recovered 452,910 litres of illegally refined diesel, 22,650 litres of petrol and 3,000 litres of kerosene in the Southsouth in the past one week.

The troops, he added, destroyed 89 illegal refining sites, 21 dugout pits, 56 boats, 138 storage tanks. They also arrested 59 suspected oil thiefs and other criminals.

In the Northeast, troops of Operation Hadin Kai killed 44 terror suspects, arrested one terrorist’s logistics supplier and 21 other criminals.

Four kidnapped hostages were rescued by them, said Gen. Buba.

The Defence spokesperson explained that men of Operation Safe Heaven and Operation Whirl Stroke in the Northcentral killed 31 terror suspects, arrested 22 others and rescued two kidnap victims.

In the Northwest, 35 terror suspects were killed and eight arrested by troops who also rescued 17 kidnapped persons.

Gen. Buba said: “ Troops of Operation Hardin Daji neutralised 18 terrorists, arrested five terrorists and rescued 10 kidnapped hostages.

“In addition, troops of Operation Whirl Punch eliminated 17 terrorists, arrested three suspected terrorists and rescued seven kidnapped hostages.

“Troops also recovered 34 assorted weapons, 399 Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonator primers, one vehicle and two motorcycles.”

The Defence spokesperson added that operatives also recorded some successes in the Southeast .

“In the conduct of operations, troops of Operation Udoka neutralised 17 terrorists, arrested 11 suspected criminals and rescued two kidnapped hostages,” he said.

Gen Buba said that a large cache of arms and ammunition were seized during the different operations across the country in the past two weeks.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” he said.

IGP Egbetokun directed all Police commissioners and tactical commanders to deal decisively with any ”attempt by unscrupulous person(s) to sabotage the economic revival” policies of President Bola Tinubu.

Egbetokun told them to emplace “adequate security” in their operational areas/commands to ensure that such persons did not succeed.

He also ordered a clampdown on firearms fabricators, unauthorised sellers and users.

Egbetokun spoke at a meeting with senior officers where he highlighted policies and achievements of the Police under his leadership in the last five weeks.

The IG announced that 288 armed robbery suspects were arrested and 127 firearms recovered during the period (five weeks). He added that the Force recorded fewer violent crimes/ major offences across the country.

He said: “We are all aware of recent government efforts towards economic recovery and growth through local and international engagements with investors and technocrats, the Nigeria Police Force is poised to support the efforts of government by providing the needed security and enabling environment for all legitimate businesses and other economic activities.

“We are not leaving any stone unturned and will continue to be on our toes in ensuring that we play our role well in the efforts towards achieving economic recovery, growth, as well as social and political development of our nation.

“A total of 127 firearms of different calibres, 612 assorted ammunition, and 89 stolen vehicles were recovered nationwide while 71 kidnap victims were rescued unhurt and subsequently reunited with their families and loved ones within the same period of five weeks.”

The IG enjoined all individuals in possession of illegal firearms and light weapons to submit them at police stations nearest to them to avoid sanction.

He said: “All state Police commissioners and supervising Assistant Inspectors – General of Police in charge of Zonal commands, as well as tactical commanders are by this announcement mandated to immediately commence a total clampdown on the illegal fabrication, sales, possession and use of prohibited firearms.

“All Nigerians are hereby urged to report all suspicious firearms related activities to their local police stations. They can also report through the various NPF social media platforms for prompt response and action.”.

On the Central Motor Registry (CMR) which was recently automated and rolled out, the police boss said the development has revolutionised police response to the challenge of stolen vehicles .

The platform, according to him, affords Nigerians the opportunity to register their vehicles online for safety.

Egbetokun said that in the period under review, 1,244 vehicles had been registered on the paltform, of which 234 were found to have been reported stolen. Eighty nine of the stolen vehicles were recovered in the last five weeks.

The IGP “encourage members of the public to access the platform at cmris.npf.gov.ng and register their vehicles.”

Egbotokun also revealed that through the deployment of the Nigeria Police Force – National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC), 10 notorious cybercriminals were arrested in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) within four days last month.

He said: “Building on the initiative (NPF-NCCC), a well-coordinated, intelligence-led operation was initiated, resulting in the apprehension of 10 notorious cybercriminals.

“This operation conducted from August 16th to 20th, 2023, was in direct response to the emergence of a novel cyber threat characterised by the creation of cloned banking websites facilitating high-yield investment scams and money laundering.

“The arrested suspects, all male residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have provided confessions regarding their varying degrees of involvement in these criminal activities.”

Following the completion of the investigation, they have been charged to court accordingly.”

The meeting also availed the officers the opportunity to enumerate some operational plans towards policing the off-season gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states in November.

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