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Army detains soldiers for alleged cable theft at Dangote refinery


Solomon Odeniyi

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The Nigerian Army, on Wednesday, said two soldiers accused of stealing armoured cables at the Dangote refinery are currently in custody.

The soldiers had entered the facility on Sunday in an Acura jeep but were caught at the company’s main gate with 897 armoured cables that had been cut to size.

Reacting in a statement on Wednesday, the Director, Army Public Relations, Maj. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, described the incident as “totally unacceptable and highly regrettable.”

He disclosed that the two soldiers were in custody.

The statement read, “The Nigerian Army is deeply concerned about the alleged involvement of two of its personnel in a reported case of theft at the Dangote Refinery in Lagos.

“This act of criminality, which was prevented by the proactive intervention of vigilant troops and private security operatives on duty at the refinery, is totally unacceptable and highly regrettable. It does not, therefore, represent the ethics and values of the NA. The two suspects have been identified and are currently under custody.”

Onyema said the soldiers were hired by a contractor identified as Smart.

He noted that a preliminary investigation conducted in the incident revealed that Smart informed the soldiers that he needed to retrieve some cables that had been left behind at the facility.

Onyema added that when they got there, Smart sensed trouble, then excused himself and left the scene.

He said, “Preliminary investigation reveals that the two suspects were hired by a civilian contractor simply identified as Mr Smart, who claimed he wanted to recover some armoured cables he had left behind on the refinery’s premises. Unknown to the soldiers, the said contractor, sensing trouble as they approached the security post, excused himself from the vehicle and bolted away, leaving them behind.”

Onyema added that further investigation was underway to determine the extent of the soldiers’ involvement in the matter.

He said, “Further investigations are ongoing to fully ascertain the depth of culpability of the apprehended soldiers. Additionally, the stolen cables have been recovered and are in safe custody.

“The NA is working closely with the management of the Dangote Refinery to ensure a thorough investigation into this unfortunate incident.

“The NA wishes to reassure the general public that appropriate disciplinary measures would be meted out to the culprits, as no act of criminality will be condoned amongst its personnel.

 He maintained that the Nigerian Army remained steadfast in ensuring that the key values of discipline and integrity were adequately entrenched amongst its personnel promising to also continue to “cultivate and promote dedication and a culture of accountability and ethical behaviours within our ranks.”

Credit: Punch 

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