A suspected pipeline vandal, Gabriel Ajom, said he was promised large sums of money by those who “contracted” him for the illegal act.
Operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, arrested Ajom at a tank farm in Calabar, Cross River State.
Ajom, who was paraded yesterday, by Samuel Fadeyi, the Commandant of NSCDC in Cross River, said: “Two men came into my office and said they want to help me make some money. They asked me to allow them to dig the pipeline and I did.
“They asked me not to panic that I was going to make a huge amount of money. They gave me N500 on the first day they came.
“They went and brought people from Port-Harcourt who dug this tunnel day and night. They promised that when they want to lay the pipes, they will give me a huge amount of money.”
Speaking earlier, Fadeyi said the suspect is the security personnel of the moribund tank farm, Mettle Energy and Gas, where the pipeline was connected to.
Fadeyi explained that the suspect was arrested by his men on surveillance patrol alongside the maintenance unit of a private outfit involved in the monitoring of pipelines in the state.
“During the surveillance, they noticed a small collapse hole around the area, suggesting that there was a pit in between.
“NSCDC officials dug the hole and discovered that it was a tunnel, leading from the moribund tank farm, Mettle Energy and Gas, into the pipeline.
“Further investigation showed that they had some equipment, which they were going to use to connect to the pipeline, breach it and then siphon petroleum product.
“This whole digging took place underground, such that one will not know what was going on. The tunnel leads to the tank farm at one end and the other leads to the pipeline.
“We have commenced an investigation and the suspect is helping to give us credible information on those behind this illegal act,” he said.
He noted that the act was carried out by a cartel, assuring that the corps will ensure that those at large are also arrested.