The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)in Cross River, on Sunday, said that it arrested 15 suspected oil thieves between January and March.
The NSCDC Commandant, Mr Clement Adeuyi, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.
Mr. Adeuyi said the corps also recovered 90 drums of oil from the hoodlums within the first quarter of the year.
He said that the suspects were arrested in different locations across the state.
The commandant said that three of the suspects were arrested by the army and handed over to the corps while 12 were arrested by men of the NSCDC.
“The Cross River Command of the NSCDC has recorded some successes this year. In the last three months, we have arrested 15 suspected oil bunkerers and recovered 90 drums of oil.
“We will continue to work with other security agencies in the state to end oil bunkering, diversion of petroleum products and other crimes,” he said.
Mr. Adeuyi said that the command was making efforts to ensure that the solid minerals and other natural resources in the state were fully protected.
He said that solid minerals were essential resources of the Federal Government hence the need to protect them.
He said, “One of the core objectives of the corps is the protection of national asset and critical infrastructure.
“We have a formidable team on ground that will ensure the protection of solid minerals across the 18 local government areas of the state.
“We must support the Federal Government’s efforts in diversifying the nation’s economy and exploitation of the solid mineral is part of the diversification.”
Mr. Adeuyi appealed to the federal and state governments, corporate organisations and individuals to assist the command by providing it with operational vehicles.
The commandant said that such facilities would help the corps effectively carry out its functions in the state.
“Our major challenge now is operational vehicles. We need operational vehicles to help us protect the solid minerals in the state effectively.”