The Nigerian Naval ship, NNS Delta, has destroyed over 320 illegal refineries along the creeks of Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State with an estimated 6,000 metric tons of stolen crude stored at the various locations to be refined.
Briefing newsmen in Warri at the end of the destruction at Otegbene-Agbara, Bennet Island and Jones Creek, all in Warri South, the Commander, Commodore Musa Gemu, noted that these locations were the latest remote hideouts in the creeks where crude oil thieves carried out the refining processes, before taking them to the various markets where they were sold to the public.
He noted that the renewed commitments of the Navy to combat illicit oil deals was in line with the zero tolerance of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, to the issue of illegal bunkering activities and pipeline vandalism along the waterways.
He added that since those behind the act of sabotage had resolved not to stop, the Navy had intensified its surveillance operations and destruction along the creeks.
Gemu said: “We, Navy, are particularly concerned that in spite of what the Federal Government, NNPC, NDDC, and DESOPADEC had done and are still doing to alleviate the poverty in this region through youth empowerments, job creation and education, some people are just not satisfied.
“They take to criminalities as if it is a way of life and that is the more reason they indulge themselves in all sorts of criminalities along the creeks.
“Look at the environment here. They have polluted the waters in the various communities along these creeks as a result of spills from the damaged pipelines points from where they stole the crude. Now, how do indigenes of these communities cope?
“Let us assume that they do not drink the waters from this river, but at least people rely on it as a source of living especially fishermen and also for domestic use. But as you can see, of what use is this polluted water to the people?
“So even the communities suffers so much from this act of sabotage.”
Commodore Gemu, warned those behind the act to desist in their best interest, saying the Navy had improved its surveillance network along the creeks to be able to locate some of the remote hideout, where the criminal acts were being perpetrated.
He stressed that anyone caught in the act should be prepared to face the unpleasant consequences of their actions.
At Oteghene-Agbara community in Warri South, where two deep ditches were dug for oil storage, a primary school teacher who identified himself as Mr. Joseph Idogho, said the activities of the vandals and illegal bunkerers had been on for a while and that they had alerted the community leaders who were expected to informed security agents