Premium Times (Abuja)

Nigeria: Ex-Militants Arrest Oil Thieves in Ondo Coastal Area

A waterways vigilante group run by former militants in Ondo state, weekend, arrested a four-man gang accused of stealing crude oil in the coastal area of the state.

Police confirmed the arrests and said the suspects were to be charged to court.

The effort is seen as outstanding for the federal government's amnesty strategy of engaging former oil militants, who reigned in the waterways and siphoned oil, to help keep security in the areas.

The Ilaje local council arm of the vigilante group, Humanness Security Services, said those arrested stole outboard engines and fishing boats to carry out their activities on oil facilities.

The four men were picked up by after several days of surveillance, the group told reporters.

The outfit, headed by Othello Mafimisebi, an ex-militant is one of the groups engaged by the government to help maintain security of the creeks and protect onshore oil facilities.

Last month, a similar group in neighouring Ese-Odo local council, headed by Bibopiri Ajube, seized five barges laden with about 1.5 million liters of stolen unrefined crude .

The Ajube group was later assisted by a combined team of military personnel and marine police in a joint operation, to set ablaze, 33 illegal refineries that dotted the creeks in the mutual boundaries of Ondo, Edo and Delta States.

Mr. Mafimisebi, whose area of coverage, according to the arrangement with the government, stretches to Ogun and Lagos coasts, said that the suspects were tracked down at Abereke, a town on the Atlantic shore while trying to hide a stolen Yamaha outboard engine.

The ex-militant in an interview with reporters, said the suspects were handed over to the police.

"Our outfit is resolute in assisting the Federal Government bring sanity to the disorder in the creeks so that the country can have maximum returns from the natural resources of the Niger Delta region," Mr. Mafimisebi said.

The police said investigations were ongoing.

A waterways vigilante group run by former militants in Ondo state, weekend, arrested a four-man gang accused of stealing crude oil in the coastal area of the state.

Police confirmed the arrests and said the suspects were to be charged to court.

The effort is seen as outstanding for the federal government's amnesty strategy of engaging former oil militants, who reigned in the waterways and siphoned oil, to help keep security in the areas.

The Ilaje local council arm of the vigilante group, Humanness Security Services, said those arrested stole outboard engines and fishing boats to carry out their activities on oil facilities.

The four men were picked up by after several days of surveillance, the group told reporters.

The outfit, headed by Othello Mafimisebi, an ex-militant is one of the groups engaged by the government to help maintain security of the creeks and protect onshore oil facilities.

Last month, a similar group in neighouring Ese-Odo local council, headed by Bibopiri Ajube, seized five barges laden with about 1.5 million liters of stolen unrefined crude .

The Ajube group was later assisted by a combined team of military personnel and marine police in a joint operation, to set ablaze, 33 illegal refineries that dotted the creeks in the mutual boundaries of Ondo, Edo and Delta States.

Mr. Mafimisebi, whose area of coverage, according to the arrangement with the government, stretches to Ogun and Lagos coasts, said that the suspects were tracked down at Abereke, a town on the Atlantic shore while trying to hide a stolen Yamaha outboard engine.

The ex-militant in an interview with reporters, said the suspects were handed over to the police.

"Our outfit is resolute in assisting the Federal Government bring sanity to the disorder in the creeks so that the country can have maximum returns from the natural resources of the Niger Delta region," Mr. Mafimisebi said.

The police said investigations were ongoing.

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