By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja, and Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
In what could be termed the biggest onslaught against operators of illegal refineries and oil bunkering in the Niger Delta creeks, the military has recovered 1,339,000 litres of illegally refined AGO, 500,000 litres of DPK and 9,856.1 barrels of stolen crude.
Also 13 illegal refineries were dismantled in the operation conducted by Operation Delta Safe, while 24 suspects were arrested.
Coordinator Defence Media Operations Major General John Enenche, said that troops of Operation Delta Safe have continued with the aggressive fight against economic sabotage in the Southsouth zone progressively.
Enenche spoke on Thursday during the weekly briefing on military operations at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
He said, “Between 14 to 20 January 2021, troops of Operation Delta Safe conducted anti-Crude Oil Theft and illegal oil bunkering operations as well as other anti-illegal maritime activities.
“In the course of their operational activities, six illegal refining sites, 11 wooden boats, 52 Gee Pee tanks, 102 metal tanks, 17 dugout pits and 45 ovens were immobilized. Also, 24 suspects arrested while 14 pumping machines, 2 speed boats and 13 outboard engines were recovered. Additionally, a total of 9,856.1 barrels of stolen crude oil and 1,339,000 litres of illegally refined AGO as well as 500,000 litres of DPK were recovered”.
Also, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) impounded 119 gallons of adulterated Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) popularly called diesel from illegal dumps in Rivers State.
The state commandant of the NSCDC, Muktar Lawal, who described the seizure as averting a disaster waiting to happen, said he had constituted a special anti-vandal team to identify such illegal dumps across the state.
Lawal said, “At about 1500hrs on Tuesday, 19th January, 2021, the anti-vandal team of the command arrested a suspect by name Mr. Ezike Shoke with a Volkswagen Jetta car loaded with suspected illegally refined AGO.
“It was loaded in gallons 56 in number at an illegal dump situated at number 34 Arochukwu Street, Rumumasi in Port Harcourt city L.G.A of Rivers State.
“The illegal dump where the suspected products were seized was situated at a residential area making it unacceptable and dangerous for the residence of the area due to the adverse health effects which in extreme case results to death.
“Other item seized at the crime scene include 57 empty gallons found at the crime scene.”
He said investigation was ongoing.