JTF arrests eight for oil theft, accuse oil firms of frustrating efforts

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By Egufe yafugborhi, PH

THE Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield (Sector 2) in Rivers State has accused oil multinationals of frustrating the force’s effort at checking continued oil theft and illegal bunkering in the operating environment.

The Sector 2 Public Relation Officer, Major Michael Etete noted this in statement yesterday in Port Harcourt following a raid by troops of the JTF against oil thieves and illegal refinery operators in the Omuma, Bille Km 45, and Elilakire all in Degema Local Government area.

The raid carried out between 14th and 15th November, according to Major Etete, led to the destruction of three wooden boats loaded with 55 empty drums, five speed boats, one illegal local refinery with five surface tanks for storage and one underground tank and another wooden boat loaded with illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).

In the same raid, eight suspects were also declared arrested and have been handed over to men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Rivers Command according to the Army PRO.

While pledging the JTF’s continued readiness to fight oil theft and illegal bunkering in the area, the body, however lamented oil companies’ indifference to fixing illegal loading points, noting that the attitude was frustrating the task before the JTF.

Citing a case in point, Etete noted that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) inability to repair and or even clamp  down on over 70 illegal loading points discovered over the past one year in Sector 2 is adversely affecting fight against oil theft due to continued use by oil thieves.

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