The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Bayelsa State Command, says its anti-vandals’ team has arrested a suspected ringleader that masterminded the blowing up of the Nigeria Agip Oil Company’s pipeline.
The State Commandant, NSCDC, Mr. Desmond Agu, who gave the name of the suspect as Suoyo Dickson, said he (Dickson) and his gang members attacked Agip pipeline at Lagosgbene, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state on May 30, 2017.
Agu made this known on Thursday during the parade of the suspect at the headquarters of the command in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
The commandant said, ”The vandals fled the scene shortly after disrupting the pipeline. But our anti-Vandals’ team was on their trail, combing the creeks and waterways for the fleeing suspects.
”Our search paid off. With information gathered from members of the public, we located the hideout of the mastermind of this act. The ringleader, Suoyo Dickson, aka Hustler, was arrested on June 16, 2017, at Agbigiba community in Southern Ijaw.
”The suspect has confessed to the crime and he is helping the corps for further investigations.”
Agu added that some of Dickson’s gang members had earlier been apprehended by a joint task force, while others were currently on the run.
He stated that investigation was still ongoing to apprehend the rest of the gang members, noting that after investigation, the suspects would be prosecuted.
Agu said those (suspects) earlier arrested were still in custody of one of the sister’s security agencies.
He reiterated the corps’ commitment to discharge its duties in line with its mandate and the template of the Commandant General, saying the NSCDC was ever determined and ready to secure public assets including pipelines and other oil installations in the state.
He warned criminals to steer clear of national assets, especially oil installations, saying that people were now aware that vandalism is an old-fashioned, criminal and irresponsible method of agitation.
On convictions so far, Agu stated, ”We have prosecuted many suspects. We have got convictions of 16 suspects that were given life in imprisonment.
”More than seven suspects were given jail terms ranging three to 10 years in prison. Those convictions are warning to those criminals who are still in the business of illegalities.”
In a chat with the suspect (Dickson), he confessed to the crime, saying that he destroyed the pipeline because of frustration.
He claimed that the Oil and Gas Task Force in the area after luring them with compensation and employment to give up their bunkering camps, reneged on their promise.
On how he carried out the burning, the suspect said, ”I used two handsaw blades and handsaw to open up the point, I cut the handle in the valve, I fetched 20 litres of petrol, I lit spark lighter and threw it into the pipe and burnt it.”
Dickson added, ”I burnt the pipeline because they did not keep to their promise of employing us after making us show them our bunkering camps and the subsequent destruction by the military.
”We showed them our camps, eight of them. All the camps did not belong to me. Three were mine while other groups have five. After showing them, the task force engaged the military to destroy our camps.
”The other groups, whose camps were destroyed were not happy with me. They said I betrayed them and they started planning to kill me and my family members. The situation put me under pressure more so the employment they promised all of us after seven days did not come.”