The Nigerian Navy (NNS Jubilee) in Ikot Abasi local government area of Akwa Ibom State, working in collaboration with operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has smashed a syndicate specialising in illegal refining and adulteration of petroleum products. The security team, acting on a tip-off stormed an isolated compound along Liverpool road in Eket local government area, where they uncovered illegal Automated Gas Oil (AGO) depot and seized items including four underground tanks, hoses and connecting pipes, valves as well as petroleum tanker with registration number; KAM 413 XA, amongst others. Addressing newsmen yesterday, the team leader, Lt. Commander Umaru Sidi, said that the patrol team discovered the illegal AGO depot, explaining that their patrol team got intelligence information on the syndicate and immediately deployed operatives to smash the gang. Although no arrest has yet been made, Sidi said the recovered items had since been handed over to the NSCDC officials in line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-ette Ibas, for further investigation. Receiving the items the state commandant of NSCDC, Akwa Ibom Command, Adeyinka Ayinla described the act as sabotage of the economy of the country. Ayinla said that investigation was on going, adding that the Command was aware that oil thieves have formed a cartel that specialised in refining AGO illegally and sold to unwary members of the public. He explained that the Qua River was also used as an oil depot where they lift illegal AGO to various parts of Akwa Ibom and beyond. Ayinla thanked the Nigerian Navy for their cooperation with NSCDC to curb crime in the state, saying that NSCDC would carry out surveillance of the place. He called on the people of Akwa Ibom to give useful information to NSCDC in order to nib economic crimes in the bud.

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