By Adesina Wahab
The newly-established Sector ‘C’ Surveillance and Monitoring Team of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, in Delta State led by Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a Akpodoro has arrested a gang of oil thieves led by a woman.
The team was assisted by men of Operation Delta Safe, OpDS Sector 1 based in Effurun.
This was contained in a statement made available by Akpodoro who is the Coordinator of the Sector ‘C’ of the IPMAN, Delta State.
The Team was set up by the National President of IPMAN Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, who charged members to be thorough in their operations and weed the state of criminals in the downstream sector of the petroleum distribution chain in the state.
Luck ran out of a suspected ring of product thieves on Thursday, at Ifie and Ubeji suburbs of Warri as the Akpodoro-led team swooped on the area and caught one Mrs Uju Anthony, with members of her gang loading suspected stolen Automotive Gas Oil, AGO into a truck for onward transportation to the northern part of the country.
Mrs Anthony was arrested with about 18 drums of the products, one trailer with registration number: PKM 771 XA owned by Sani Hassan, five pumping machines and other items used in the illicit act.
At the sight of the IPMAN Team, futile attempts were made by the culprits to resist arrest but the dogged operatives of IPMAN with assistance from men of OpDS were able to overpower and arrest them without anyone escaping.
The ring leader, Mrs Anthony and members of her gang are being detained at the Effurun Barrack of the Nigerian Army for further investigation while the truck has been impounded with the suspected stolen products.
Akpodoro said the Sector ‘C’ Team is just starting, noting that they were privy to the activities and operational base of pipeline vandals, product thieves, adulterators of petroleum products and sundry crimes in the state.
He vowed to cripple their illicit enterprise adding that there is no more hiding place for them in the state.
According to him, the Presidency has ordered IPMAN to rid the downstream petroleum industry of criminal activities and that stands and must be carried out to the letter.
He stated that scapegoats shall be made out of those arrested, stressing that such were the ones painting the state in a bad light as they turned the state into a hotbed of criminal activities in the oil sector.