The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has apprehended 13 individuals for the unlawful possession of explosives, illegal arms, and ammunition used in various acts of vandalism against oil pipelines and other critical government installations.
The suspects, paraded at the Corps’ national headquarters in Sauka, Abuja, were also accused of attempted murder and other criminal offenses.
A statement by the Corps national spokesperson, CSC Babawale Afolabi, who paraded the suspects, credited the arrests to credible intelligence and proactive measures.
The Commandant-General of NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, reiterated his commitment to combat crime in Nigeria through collaboration with other agencies.
CSC Afolabi said that the arrests followed the NSCDC boss’s recent directive to intensify nationwide surveillance on critical national assets and infrastructure (CNAI).
The majority of the suspects were arrested for unlawful possession of explosives, vandalism, and illegal dealings in petroleum products. Others were apprehended for crimes including illegal dealing in arms and ammunition, attempted murder, and criminal conspiracy.
The first group of suspects, consisting of five men, were apprehended in Bayelsa State. They were found with various incriminating items, including explosives and tools used in vandalism. Another individual, Jibrin Abdullahi, was caught with items belonging to a kidnapping victim.
Additionally, five suspects were arrested in Nasarawa State for selling arms and ammunition to suspected bandits and kidnappers. This operation, conducted in collaboration with other security agencies, involved a gunfight.
Recovered items from these suspects included a red-coloured Golf Car, phones, a sharp knife, a wristwatch, assorted charms, and ₦175,000 in cash, intended for the purchase of ammunition.
The NSCDC spokesperson revealed that their investigations had identified one of the suspects, John Ishaya, as an ex-convict involved in a robbery operation in December 2023.
“The following exhibits were recovered from the suspects: one red-coloured Golf Car, 1 Infinix phone, 1 Itel button phone, 1 Sharp Knife, 1 Wristwatch and assorted Charms.
“We also recovered from the trio a sum of ₦175, 000 cash for the purchase of ammunition at the point of purchasing about 130 pieces of AK-47 ammunition.
However, he revealed that their investigation so far identified one of the suspects, John Ishaya, as an ex-convict who led a robbery operation on 24 December 2023.
“We will dig deep to unravel and expose those sponsoring vandalism and trading of railway slippers across the nation, once we apprehend them, we will bring them to book, ” the CG vowed.
As a lead and coordinating agency in the Protection of all Critical National Assets and Infrastructure across the nation, our commitment to this task remains strong and unwavering, the Corps helmsman added.”
He reassured the public that diligent and professional investigation would be carried out after which the suspects would be charged to court.