By Emmanuel Amaize & FESTUS AHON
WARRI — NIGERIAN Navy,yesterday, in Warri, Delta State, destroyed illegally refined petroleum products, worth millions of naira and boats, popularly known as Cotonou vessels, seized from oil thieves.
Also, the Joint Task Force, JTF, yesterday, set ablaze a fuel tanker, said to have been used for crude oil theft on Ekiugbo-Ihwremaro Road, Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.
Speaking to reporters on the crack-down against oil bunkerers, Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sidi Usman, vowed to stamp out all forms of illegalities being perpetrated in the creeks and waterways.
According to Admiral Sidi, who was in company of the Commanding Officer, NNS Delta, Commodore Mohammed Garba and other Officers of the Base, the navy would spare no effort in dealing with bunkerers.
He said: “We will continue to raid areas where illegalities are being practised. The evil doers are no friends of the country as their nefarious activities are aimed at destroying the nation’s economy.”
Usman who personally led the team, expressed satisfaction with the mass destruction of large quantities of fuel dumps at Opumani and the arrest of a suspect, whose name was given as Samson Oghenero.
Meanwhile in Ughelli, the fuel tanker was set ablaze close to a pipeline in the area by soldiers, who raided the area at 8.30am.
It was gathered that the fully loaded tanker had sank as it was being driven out of the swampy road in the early hours of yesterday and efforts to tow it with another tanker was fruitless.
Commanding Officer of the 222 Battalion, Lt. Col. Victor Ibeh, while briefing newsmen on the operation, said they swung into action after they got a tip-off from the community that a tanker was being used to scoop crude oil from the pipeline.
Saying that the operation was in line with their mandate to check oil theft, he said that they stormed the scene of the oil theft with policemen, men of the Federal Road Safety Corps and fire fighters.
Ibeh said those involved in the oil theft had fled the area before their arrival, adding that nobody had shown up to claim ownership of the tanker.