Mr Gabriel Abati, Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Lagos State Command, on Tuesday appealed for public partnership with the agency in combating oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
Abati told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that information from the public would not only facilitate their jobs but indicate new spots where thieves perpetrate the criminal act.
“Collaboration between all stakeholders on security will be a way to curtail the menace of pipeline vandalism in the country.
“The NSCDC will do everything possible to ensure the state is secured, protect the country’s pipeline and reduce illegal bunkering during the Christmas.
“Most times oil theft and pipeline vandalism take place during the festive periods because the perpetrators have the notion that security agencies are not often active during such periods.
“The most important instrument to curb the excesses of pipeline vandalism and oil bunkering is effective communication from the community where the act is taking place,” Abati told NAN.
Also speaking with NAN, Mr Chibuzor Mefor, the Public Relations Officer of the command, told NAN that NSCDC would soon take delivery of sniffer dogs as part of the efforts to curtail insecurity.
Mefor told NAN that the officers who would work with the dogs were currently undergoing training.
He added that about 115 suspected vandals were arrested and 30 of the suspects were charged to court based on their level of involvement in the crime.
He noted that the country had lost billions of dollars due to criminal activities, especially vandalism of the nation’s electricity cables and pipeline networks as well as smuggling and oil theft.
“About 500 Sniffer Dogs were ordered from the U.S. and all of them have arrived in the country and the organisation’s personnel are currently undergoing training on their use.
“The dogs will be used to combat crime during and after the festive periods.
“The dogs will be distributed to various states of the federation and Lagos State will be considered first because of its cosmopolitan nature and high crime rate.
“Over 115 criminals were arrested since the beginning of this year and about 30 of them have been charged to court for various offences committed at different locations in the state,’’ Mefor said.
He also appealed to youths to engage in vocational jobs instead of vandalism and theft because they were dangerous and many people had lost their lives in the process.
“Sometimes criminals lose their lives in the process of vandalising pipelines due to explosion and some get electrocuted while stealing electrical installations such as transformers and cables,’’ he said.