One of the suspects told reporters that he ventured into the business following his struggle to take care of his wife and children.
Daily Post reported that the suspects were arrested "at a creek around Cutting Channel 2 in Okrika Local Government Area".
In a statement, Mrs. Helen Amakiri, the state commandant of the NSCDC, gave her assurance that the security agency would not relent in its bid to battle pipeline vandals.
She said, “The suspects were arrested while they were carrying out their illegal activities on oil facilities in the area.
“We got these suspects through intelligence gathering. Our mandate is to ensure that the pipelines are adequately protected and to ensure that oil theft does not occur in River State.
“So far, we got five of them on the spot where they were tapping into the pipeline and setting up an illegal refinery. They cannot overpower us. We will surely defeat them. We are working round the clock.
“The task of combating oil theft is not beyond us. In any situation we find ourselves, we work according to the situation we see on the ground. We were able to apprehend five suspects", she added.
Donatus Nwosu, one of the suspects, who owned a boutique before joining the gang, said he was forced into the life of crime because he needed money to take care of his children and wife.