A suspected oil thief's floating corpse has been recovered on the creeks of Qua Iboe River in Eket local government area, Akwa Ibom state.
Information gathered that marine police operatives, following a tip-off by Ikot Ebidang natives in the Onna local government area, raided some coastal areas about a week ago, where many of the suspects dived into the river as an escape route for arrest.
Addressing journalists in Uyo, the state capital, Dr. Ufot Phenson, a community leader and stakeholder, said one of the vandals that dived into the river drowned.
After three days, the corpse was recovered on the Creek of Qua Iboe River in the adjoining oil community of Eket LGA.
Phenson said the Marine Police operatives stationed at Marina Beach, Eket Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom state, have apprehended one Mbet-obong Robson, who is a member of a gang of oil pipeline vandals, and recovered items such as a Flying boat, hacksaw, generator, motorcycle, life jacket, oxygen cylinder, iron cutter, and others.
The items were used in breaking the pipelines, which almost ignited a fire with thick smoke released into the atmosphere. During the process of the Police raid, other members of the gang escaped into the thick swamp. In contrast, others jumped into the Qua Iboe River and escaped.
Thereafter, the matter was reported at the Divisional Police station at Abat, headquarters of Onna. The concerns and fears are that if the law enforcement agents do not correctly deal with a matter of this magnitude, their sponsors, claiming ownership of the community, could bribe the Police to release the principal suspect to continue in the trade, which is economic sabotage to the Nation.
If not for Marine Police's timely intervention, a vast area of about 6.5 kilometers would have been gutted by fire with loss of properties, lives, and oil installations.
The gas pipelines are owned by the Nigerian Federal Government and was laid across the area in 2012 by Seven Exploration and Production Company to supply gas to the Ibom Power plant at Ikot Abasi LGA.
He as well charged the regular Police to follow through with the feat achieved by their Marine counterpart and diligently prosecute the suspect for serving as a deterrent to others, even as he indulged the youths' vigilantes in being in the vanguard of securing oil pipelines in the coastal communities.
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