The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said it destroyed 71 illegal refineries and arrested 501 suspected pipeline vandals and oil thieves.
Its Commandant General Ahmed Audi announced this at the inauguration of 93 operational vehicles for the corps by Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola in Abuja.
Mr Audi said the figure represented some of the achievements of the corps between January and August.
The NSCDC boss disclosed that the specialised operational vehicles would be used to combat potential threats to national security arising from felonious acts.
He listed the nefarious acts as crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, smuggling, pipeline vandalism and related crimes within the coastal and offshore areas.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, urged the corps to remain intolerant of anything that poses a threat to the safety and peace of Nigerians.
“Utilise and maintain the vehicles to serve their purpose and ensure to train personnel to operate the vehicles,” he said.
Also, members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have started a protest in Abuja, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, and Warri, Delta State.
They say the protest will continue until the massive oil theft in the Niger Delta region is addressed.
The angry oil workers threatened a showdown with the Federal Government due to the economic implications the massive oil theft in the oil producing region was causing its members and fellow Nigerians.
PENGASSAN President Festus Osifo led the oil workers on a rally to the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
Osifo said the association had repeatedly tried to engage stakeholders in the last one year, to proffer solutions to the problem of oil theft and vandalism, but that the engagements hadn’t yielded results.
The NNPC for its part called for the sensitisation and de-radicalisation of pipeline vandals to enable investors put their money in oil business in the country, especially in the Niger Delta region.
NNPC’s Group General Manager for Security, Abba-Gana Muhammed, said this while receiving the protesters at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on behalf of the Group Chief Executive Officer of the company.
He expressed appreciation to members of PENGASSAN, saying the NNPC boss was also doing his best to protect the pipelines and other oil installations.
Osifo urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give security chiefs a month’s deadline to make progress on investigating security outfits sent to the Niger Delta, and send those culpable for non-performance.