The Nigerian Army says it has uncovered a massive illegal oil bunkering site located one kilometre along the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Port Harcourt.
Brig.-Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, the Commander of 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Port Harcourt that thousands of litres of illegally refined diesel were discovered at the site.
He said that army operatives were immediately deployed to the site at Makoba Beach, which is two kms. away from the Rivers State Government House.
“About 16:40 hours on Monday, we got an information that some illegal bunkering activities were going on along Makoba Beach.
“On arrival, our personnel discovered illegal activities which involved bunkering of illegally refined petroleum products and lifting of diesel to local boats.
“At the site, we found more than 5,000 drums loaded with illegally refined diesel; four tanker trucks containing 132,000 litres of diesel combined, and a barge with 165,000 litres of stolen diesel.
“This discovery is unprecedented because since we started our operations 10 days ago, this is about the biggest that we have uncovered.”
Olabanji said that additional 150 drums, loaded with about 3,150 litres of diesel, were also discovered in 21 Cotonou boats.
He said that 13 suspects were arrested at the scene of the illegal activity.
He said that the illegal bunkering dump had not yet been set ablaze, in line with the Joint Task Force mandate, because of its closeness to residential buildings and the NPA.
“Our mandate requires us to destroy the site in situ, but we cannot do this because it will degrade the environment and affect residents since it is situated in the heart of Port Harcourt.
“Our plan is to move them to a safe location for destruction.”
The commander said that preliminary investigation had already begun to unravel sponsors of the activity, adding that the 13 suspects would be handed over to the relevant authorities for further investigation and prosecution.
Olabanji, while urging oil thieves to desist from the sabotage of oil and gas installations, assured Nigerians that the JTF would not rest until it rids the state of illegal bunkering activities.
“Let it be known that the army will not and will never tolerate illegal bunkering in our area of responsibility,” he assured.
Olabanji called on the public to provide the JTF with timely information which could lead to the arrest of oil thieves and pipeline vandals.
Deborah Samuel: Gov Tambuwal relaxes curfew
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State government has relaxed the 24-hour curfew he imposed on the state capital following violent protest over the arrest of some youths allegedly involved in the killing Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student.
Tambuwal in a statement issued by his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Isah Bajini, said the revised curfew will now be from dusk to dawn in Sokoto township.
The statement noted that “Sequel to the briefing by the security heads in the State, the State Governor, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has ordered the relaxation of the 24-hour curfew in force in Sokoto metropolis
“The revised curfew will now be from dusk to dawn in Sokoto township. This is with a view to affording people the window to pursue their legitimate businesses and other means of livelihood.”
Recall that following the lynching of the 200-level student for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed, the State’s police command arrested some persons linked to the incident.
However, a large number of Muslim boys who were angered by the arrest, stormed the streets in the State on Saturday, demanding the release of the suspects.
The development, which triggered tension in several parts of the State, made the Governor to impose the curfew.
Arsonists burn down LG secretariat, Magistrate Court in Anambra
Suspected arsonists have burnt down Idemili North Local Government secretariat in Ogidi and a Magistrate Court in the area.
Sources said the arsonists entered the premises on Sunday night to perpetuate the act, burning down all files, properties in the secretariat, including the secretariat building.
Videos and pictures circulating online showed that the entire buildings were reduced to rubbles, while vehicles parked inside the Local Government secretariat were also burnt to ashes.
The State Police Command has also confirmed the development, attributing it to unidentified arsonists.
DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, the spokesperson of the State Police Command said: “Yes, the incident was confirmed, and our men were there to restore normalcy.
“Right now, the fire has been put off, and calm has been restored to the area,” Ikenga said.
National Assembly transmits amended Electoral Act to Buhari
The National Assembly has transmitted the amended Electoral Act 2022 to the Presiden Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
The bill was transmitted to the Presidency on Friday.
Sources in the Presidency and the National Assembly confirmed the transmission.
A source in the Presidency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he had not been authorised to announce the development officially, said, “Yes, it has been transmitted. But wait till Monday when it may be announced when the President will sign it.”
Another source in the National Assembly said, “It was transmitted on Friday. I needed to confirm it before saying anything.”
It was further learnt that Buhari would sign the amendment ahead of primaries of political parties beginning next week.
The Senate and the House of Representatives had last week passed an amendment to the Act to recognise statutory delegates at primaries, congresses, and conventions of political parties.
The lawmakers particularly amended Section 84(8) of the Act to provide automatic or statutory delegates, ahead of the forthcoming party primaries, from where candidates would emerge for the 2023 general elections.
In March, the National Assembly had passed the bill for the Act while the President signed it into law.
While political parties are close to conducting primaries to elect candidates for the 2023 general elections, the Act did not allow members elected into public offices and executives of the parties, known as statutory delegates, to participate and vote in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of parties.
The chambers had described the omission as “a fundamental error.”
Without the provision by the law, Buhari; the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); members of the National Assembly, governors and their deputies, members of the State Houses of Assembly, chairmen of local government areas, councillors, executives of political parties, amongst others, would have been disenfranchised.
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