The Joint Task Force (JTF) deployed to protect oil facilities in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, says it has arrested suspected vandals behind recent pipeline blasts in the region.
A blast on a crude and gas pipeline at Escavos, Delta State, resulted to the shutdown of Warri and Port Harcourt refineries and cut gas supply to some power plants.
Another pipeline blast on Agip’s facility on January 28 resulted to a drop by 16,000 barrels of oil equivalent daily out of Agip’s 40,000 barrels daily export from Brass Oil Export Terminal of Bayelsa coastline.
According to a statement issued yesterday by Col. Isa Ado, Spokesman of Operation Pulo Shield, the arrest followed a charge by the Commander of the Joint Force, Maj.-Gen. Alani Okunlola, to apprehend those behind the act.
Ado said that the suspects in custody were being interrogated to ascertain their degree of involvement and to help in arresting other suspects still at large.
He said that surveillance patrols in the region have been intensified to ensure that all the suspected militants behind the pipeline sabotage were brought to book.
His words: “Operation PULO SHIELD remains determined to track and arrest perpetrators of the recent multiple attacks and bombing of some oil pipelines and installations across Niger Delta Region.
“Some suspects were arrested and currently undergoing thorough preliminary investigation to ascertain their degree of involvement before handing them over to prosecuting agencies, while effort is on to track and arrest fleeing vandals.
“The success of the arrest was due to highly intensified Patrols and Cordon and Search of the waterways, creeks and communities by the Joint Force.
“It is in line with the directives of the Commander Operation PULO SHIELD, Major General Alani Gafar Okunlola to apprehend those behind the criminal act.”
The statement quoted the JTF Commander as assuring the people of Niger Delta of Operation PULO SHIELD’s determination to wipe out all acts of illegalities in the region.
He also called on the people to give useful information that will aid the JTF in its operations in line with its mandate in the Niger Delta.
He warned the perpetrators of the crime to desist from further destruction of oil facilities or be ready to face the wrath of the law.