By Dennis Naku
The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt said its men arrested one Desmond Okeh for impersonation, while 12 others were nabbed for their alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering.
The army said the 12 suspects were arrested by the troops of the Division while siphoning crude oil from the Rumuekpe/Okporowo pipeline near the Okoba community in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Garrison Commander, 6 Division, Nigeria Army Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Brigadier General Edi Effiong, disclosed this while parading the suspects before newsmen on Monday.
Effiong, who is also the Commander of Sector 3, Operation Delta Safe Military Joint Taskforce said the suspects would be handed over to the appropriate agency for prosecution.
Effion stated, “These ones that have been grabbed, first of all, we will profile them. We are not the prosecuting agency. So we will hand them over to the prosecuting agency.
“For oil bunkering activities, it is the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps that is in charge after profiling and getting some information from them. ”
The Garrison Commander added, “We are here to checkmate the activities of illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta because if we do not checkmate these activities they will affect us and the economy.
“So we want to ensure that the oil bunkers are not given the freedom to do whatever they want so as not to affect us in terms of the economy.”
Earlier, the spokesperson for the Division, Lieutenant Colonel Ikedichi Iweha, said the fake soldier is from Okija in Anambra state, saying it was the second he was been nabbed for the same crime.
He said the suspect (Okeh) was arrested on the 6th of July, 2023 by the 6 Division Provost group at a new generation Bank in the GRA axis in Port Harcourt fully kitted in military camouflage and a fake military Identity Card.
The 6 Division spokesman further said Okey was bearing a fake duty of 16NA/75/2038, ‘Lance Corporal Okeh Desmond’, and also recovered in the suspect’s possession a fake pass leaflet.
“And he was consequently handed over to a sister security agency for prosecution. But unfortunately, he is on the street harassing innocent civilians claiming to be a solder.”
He advised members of the public to be aware that it is not everybody in military camouflage that is a soldier.
On the 12 suspected oil thieves, Iweha stated that they were arrested on the 2nd and 3rd of July 2023. Some of the Items recovered from the suspected oil thieves were drums of crude oil, motorcycles, wheelbarrows, and jerricans.
Answering questions from newsmen, the suspect (Okey) said it was his love for the Army that made him commit the offence, saying he made some attempts to join legally without success.
“I applied to the Nigeria Army in 2016 but I was not successful. So since then, I have been applying because my result was not correct.
“I was carried away by friends that got accepted into the army because anytime they come around I feel like I am part of them. That is why I went and bought the uniform and sew it,” he stated.
Okeh however denied using the uniform to steal, saying he only excorted a lady to bring in bunkering products at GRA when he was arrested.