The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has arrested 50 suspected militants in Rivers State and destroyed 15 illegal refineries in different locations in the Niger Delta region.

The NSCDC Commandant-General, Abdullahi Muhammadu, said that the suspects were arrested on Wednesday night, during a special operation by the NSCDC operatives in the state.

The CG told journalists at a press briefing on Thursday in Abuja that the suspects were being screened and profiled as part of investigations to know their level of culpability in pipeline bombings and vandalism in the Niger Delta region.

He stated that those indicted by investigators would be arraigned in court for prosecution as economic saboteurs.

“As at yesterday (Wednesday), 15 illegal refineries were destroyed and 50 militants were arrested. However, we need to screen them to know those who would be charged to court, because they are many; 50 of them, just in a night,!” he said.

Muhammadu said the mandate of the corps had been extended beyond pipeline and critical infrastructure protection to the provision of security for dams, agro-allied business, farms and proposed ranches across the country.

He stated that 2,000 NSCDC operatives were participating in counter-insurgency operations in the North-East, noting that additional 2,700 others were undergoing training for deployment in the region.

“Before the end of October, I will send them down (to the North-East),” he added.

The CG noted that he had received requests for deployment of NSCDC personnel from various parastatals, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigerian Railway Corporation, the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Agricultural Seed Council and the Ministry of Water Resources, among others.

The NSCDC boss said that the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.), had approached the Presidency for permission to recruit additional personnel into the corps so that it could discharge its responsibility more effectively.

He complained about inadequate financial allocation and pleaded with the Federal Government to allow security agencies to maintain an account for security operation “to make our job easier.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy has arrested 11 suspected crude oil thieves in Delta State.

The Director of Information, Nigerian Navy, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, said in a statement on Thursday that the service made the arrests during ‘Operation Zero Crude Oil Theft’ in the state.

Ezekobe said that naval operatives deployed by the Naval Forward Operation Base in the Escravos arrested the suspects during raids on illegal refinery sites around Jones, Sara and Oporoza creeks of Warri South-West Local Government Area.

He said that the 11 suspects would be handed over to the prosecuting agencies for further action.

According to Ezekobe, the Navy destroyed 23 Cotonou boats laden with stolen crude oil in the operation.

Also said to have been destroyed by the Navy were two speed boats, another Cotonou boat carrying 20 tanks with a total capacity of 160,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil, six outboard engines and four pumping machines.

Ezekobe stated that the Navy also destroyed six speed boats carrying 30 drums laden with illegally refined AGO in another operation in Onne, Rivers State, between September 10 and 11, 2016.