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18 suspected illegal refinery operators arrested in Rivers

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The Rivers State Police Command said its operatives arrested 18 persons involved in illegal oil refining activities in different parts of the state.

The state Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka, disclosed this while parading the suspects before newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday.

This came barely 24 hours after the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, declared 19 persons, who he described as kingpins involved in illegal oil refining, wanted.

Eboka said the arrests followed the directive by the governor in his New Year address that all security agencies should put heads together to ensure that illegal oil bunkering in Rivers State was brought to an end.

“Besides the economic sabotage aspect of it, it is obvious that the soot is having health effects on the people of Rivers State.

“Based on that, we set up a task force to go after these bunkerers and on the 8th of this month at Marine Base we arrested 10 suspects, who were escorting two tanker loads of illegally-refined petroleum products.

“They were arrested while moving two tankers, each containing 45 litres of illegally-refined petroleum products,” he added.

The police commissioner identified the suspects as Aliyi Abdulahi, Abdulrahim Usman, Iskaku Adamu, Basiru Abubakar, Abubakar Usman, Mohammed Mohammed, Yahaya Japhat, Salisu Usman, M. Abubarka and Buhari Buhari.

“The following day, 9th of January, our men also arrested two suspects at Elele town. The two suspects, Godwin Ezekiel and Ifeanyi Asumuga, were arrested with two trucks of petroleum trucks and a Sports Utility Vehicle also loaded with petroleum products, on their way to Imo State.

“The same 8th of this month, we had information that at Ugbuatafa in Rumuji, six persons were trying to start the illegal refining business when our men stormed the place and arrested five of them. In the course of investigation, it was discovered that one Daniel Milito, who is the sponsor, was also arrested,” he stated.

Eboka identified the five suspects as Isaac Onuzoru, Alfred Okagbue, Kenddy Ezenwo, Christopher Agala and Sunday Onozuru.

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