Management of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPERP) accompanied by a team of journalists, yesterday, walked in on soldiers siphoning petroleum products from the NNPC pipeline at the contaminated area of Ososike community of Eleme Local Government Area.
The soldiers, eight in number, were visibly shocked at the intrusion, and immediately threatened to deal with any of the journalists who deigned to film them.
But the convoy of HYPERP was later intercepted along Eleme axis and stopped from moving by JTF.
They asked the National Coordinator of HYPERP, Mrs Joy Nunieh-Okunnu, to alight from her vehicle and demanded why she went to the site in the first instance.
Meanwhile, the soldiers who engaged in bunkering had with them about eight big sized drums with a hose running from the pipeline.
When the Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Hon Oji Ngofa, who was on inspection tour of the area with the HYPERP team, asked them what they were doing on the site and on whose orders, the soldiers replied that they were there on the orders of the Brigade Commander.
But Leadership gathered that the said Brigade Commander resumed work two months ago.
Thereafter, the atmosphere became tense and heavily charged when the soldiers kept threatening to deal with anyone who dared to film them.
After less than five minutes of investigating the site, the entourage moved few kilometres away to monitor the scene while Mrs Nunieh-Okunnu placed some calls.
At exactly 2:15pm, a detachment of soldiers arrived the scene, followed by JTF soldiers five minutes later. By this time, six of the soldiers who were pilfering the oil had fled the scene on motorbikes, leaving two behind.