Army parades oil thieves in Edo

Simon Ebegbulem

05 June 2012, Sweetcrude, BENIN CITY - OFFICIALS of the 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Benin City, Edo State, have paraded 58 suspected criminals, including unrepentant militants and those allegedly involved in the operation of illegal refineries in Edo and Delta States.

The Commander, 4 Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Abel Umahi, told newsmen that men of the Anti-Crime Joint Patrol, code named, “Operation Thunderstorm,” had last week, destroyed more than 2,000 illegal refineries in Edo and Delta States.

Some of the suspects also paraded were alleged to be involved in armed robbery, illegal oil theft and kidnappings. They were paraded before Governor Adams Oshiomhole, at the Brigade headquarter in Benin City. Umahi said majority of illegal refineries destroyed by his men were located in Delta State.

He said that they were able to achieve success in battling the criminals due to intelligence reports and the assistance of both the Edo and Delta State Governments.

According to him, the sophistication of some of the weapons captured from the criminals, including an anti-aircraft missile, machine gun bullets, dynamite and electricity cable wires, five AK 47 rifles, six magazines, one Mark 4 rifle, live cartridges, hammers and cutters, was shocking to law enforcement agents.

He said many of the suspect, including the lieutenants of one Omoh Tonwerigha, aka Ayamineden, whom he described as an unrepentant militant in the Niger Delta, who escaped arrest had been on security watch for some time.

“They are now sophisticated in their operations and many have been on our most wanted list for some time. We had carried out series of operations, but each time, some of them elude us. We captured highly sophisticated weapons from the criminals, including GPMG bandoliers, which means they have the weapon, but we were not able to capture that from them,” he added.