THE Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has secured the conviction of sixteen persons who have been sentenced to life imprisonment for vandalism and adulteration over 100 tonnes of diesel.
Commandant-General of NSCDC, Mr Muhammadu Gana, made this known while receiving the report on the verdict of the Federal High Court, Calabar, Cross River State on the prosecution of the suspects.
He said the 16 suspects were sentenced to life imprisonment for adulterating 100 tonnes of diesel including forfeiture of the vessel used for the operation to Federal Government.
According to him, the affected persons were arrested by the Bayelsa State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps along Brass River on their way towards the sea in Bayelsa on a vessel MV Alezzalilah.
He noted that the suspects were charged for conspiracy and adulteration which is contrary to sections 1(17) and (18) (a) and (1) of the Miscellanous Offences Act Cap, M17 LFN 2004 and punishable under the sections.
The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his ruling in the case said the 16 accused persons were guilty of the four count charge and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Corps, Mr Emmanuel on Thursday in Abuja, said Gana, while reacting to the judgement, read a riot act to vandals, illegal dealers on petroleum products and product adulterators to desist or face the wrath of the law.
The NSCDC boss warned that there would be no hidden place for vandals and economic saboteurs as the Corps would not relent efforts in dealing with the criminals.
He said NSCDC is the lead agency in the protection of critical infrastructure and national assets, stressing vandals and their cohorts must quit the illicit business or relocate from the country as the “Corps is all out to fish out those that have constituted themselves to be enemy of the nation.”
He urged the personnel not to relent in the crusade of ”Operation Zero tolerance to vandalism”, illegal bunkery, oil theft and other associated crimes, saying “Enough is enough; we must rise to the challenge of tackling this ugly phenomenon of vandalism and other related crimes.
“Attacking our personnel will not deter us from fighting the scourge rather it makes us to be more rugged and dogged in the crusade.
”I therefore used this opportunity to warn all those in this illicit business to quit as the law is no respecter of anyone.”
Gana said the judgement by the Federal High Court would serve as deterrent to others. He hails the court verdict and urged other judges to emulate Justice Inyang Ekwo for speedy dispensation of justice in the rest cases before the various courts.