- The Nigerian Army and the NSCDC in Bayelsa clashed over the seizure of two petrol tankers
- The trucks were impounded by the NSCDC when soldiers of the 16 Brigade intercepted them and took the trucks to their base in Yenagoa
- However, NSCDC officials maintained that it was their mandate under the law to handle oil theft and check diversion of petroleum products
The Bayelsa state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Yenagoa, have clashed over seizure of two tankers conveying Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol, The Punch reports.
NAIJ.com gathered that NSCDC had on Friday, May 4, impounded the trucks along the Ogbia-Nembe Road and was taking them to its command’s headquarters when soldiers of the 16 Brigade intercepted them and took the trucks to their base in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The soldiers, who outnumbered the NSCDC personnel, took possession of the trucks and forced the civil defence operatives to take to their heels during a clash that ensued.
While officials of the NSCDC maintained that it was their mandate under the law to handle oil theft and check diversion of petroleum products, the soldiers claimed that the NSCDC’s operation was suspicious.
Major Danjuma Danjuma, the spokesman for the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, on Monday, May 7, said that the Army intercepted the trucks under “suspicious circumstances" as the community members and the NSCDC were engaged in bitter arguments when the soldiers arrived.
He said samples of the products were undergoing laboratory tests to ascertain whether the products were illegally refined or duly sourced from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) as claimed by owners of the products.
He said until the suspicions were cleared, the trucks would remain with the Army.
Godwin Nwachukwu, the state Commandant, NSCDC, in reaction to the development said the two security agencies were resolving the face-off.
He said: “Our personnel and some soldiers had an encounter on the field, but the leadership of the sister security agencies have stepped in and maturity has come to play; we are jointly handling the case.
“Our mandate is very clear when it comes to protecting oil and gas facilities, curbing oil theft and checking diversion of petroleum products. What happened was unfortunate, but due to the excellent relations we have, it is being resolved. We are working with the army and investigation is underway.”
In a previous report by NAIJ.com, Okpare, Otor-Edo and Iwhrekreka communities in the Ughelli South local government area of Delta state were invaded by soldiers attached to the 222 Battalion, Agbarha-Otor, Ughelli North local government area on Operation Delta Safe searching for oil pipeline vandals, The Punch reports.
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The soldiers who laid siege to the three communities for about three days, also grounded commercial activities in the communities, disrupting among others, the weekly Okpare market day on Saturday.
Sources from the three affected communities said that the soldiers stormed the communities under the guise of searching for suspected pipeline vandals using the communities for cover.
Is Operation "Crocodile smile II" necessary? on NAIJ.com TV.