Monday, March 4

Nigerian military dismantles 39 illegal refineries, arrests 10 suspects in Niger Delta in 2 weeks

The Defence Headquarters said that troops of Operation Delta Safe have immobilized 39 illegal refining sites and arrested 10 suspects in the Niger Delta Region within the last 2 weeks between January 6 and January 20.

This is coming at a time the Rivers State Government has intensified its fight against the operation of illegal refining and bunkering sites across the state.

This was made known by the Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko, while given an update on the military operations at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.

According to NAN, Onyeuko said the troops also immobilised 91 cooking ovens, 24 reservoirs, 17 large dugout pits and 96 storage tanks on the sites within the period.

What the Defence Headquarters Spokesman is saying

Onyeuko pointed out that 637,500 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 950,000 litres of stolen crude oil were recovered in the course of operation.

He said, “Ten suspects associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period.

“Also, troops recovered three assorted arms, 48 rounds of different calibre of ammunition, two AK-47 rifle magazines as well as 17 pieces of galvanised pipes and 23 wooden boats among other items used for illegal oil bunkering activities in the course of the operations.

“All the arrested suspects and recovered items have been handed over to relevant security agencies for further action.’’

Onyeuko said the troops had sustained operational tempo in the fight against illegal oil production and other sundry crimes through kinetic and non-kinetic means in the zone.

He said the land, maritime and air operations within the period yielded appreciable results and stopped activities of vandals as well as other economic saboteurs in the region.

The Defence Spokesman revealed that some of these operations were executed at different locations in villages, creeks and towns in Emohua, Ikwere, Port Harcourt and Ahoada Local Government Areas of Rivers.

He said, “Other locations are villages, towns and creeks in Warri South, Warri South-West and Warri North Local Government Areas of Delta State as well as in Ekeremor, Brass and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas of Bayelsa.

“Also, operations were conducted at Opobo creek and some communities in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom as well as Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia.’’

What you should know

Recall that earlier in January, Governor Wike had raised alarm over the operation of illegal refineries and oil bunkering by some unscrupulous individuals and some security personnel, with its attendant environmental hazards.

Wike had also yesterday, ordered all the 23 Local Government Area (LGA) Chairmen in the state to hire bulldozers and destroy every identified illegal crude oil bunkering and artisanal refinery sites in the state as well as asked the state police command to provide adequate security for the exercise.