By Evelyn Usman, Joseph Eruke & Emem Idio
Warri—No fewer than 63 illegal refineries have been destroyed by the Nigerian Navy in Delta State, in its ongoing war against crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism.
Also destroyed, were 1,984 storage facilities containing 8,610 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil, including 5,602 metric tonnes of illegally refined petroleum product, while 80 wooden boats used to convey the illegally refined product from the camps to ready buyers, were also confiscated.
JTF woos media
In a separate development, Commander of Joint Military Taskforce in Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, OPDS, Rear Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade, has said that the collaboration between security agencies and the media, will go a long way in improving the security of the Niger Delta region and the country at large.
Akinrinade, yesterday, when the executive members of the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel, FCC, of the Nigerian Union of Journalists ,NUJ, Bayelsa State branch visited the operation headquarters at Igbogene, the state capital, stressed the need for balanced and investigative journalism, which he said can also help in addressing the security situation in the country and also help the security operatives in their investigation, just as he promised to partner the media, especially in terms of trainings to be conversant with reporting security information accurately.
Reiterating the commitment of OPDS in the protection of critical infrastructures and oil facilities to boost the economy of the country, he urged the media not to portray security agencies in the country in such a way that the people will lose confidence in its capacity, or report crime in such a way that will glorify criminals and criminal activities.
In Delta State, Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship Delta, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, who briefed a media team on the operational activities of the command towards the fulfilment its assigned tasks, lamented that some members of host communities who engage in illegal bunkering sometimes hindered the base’s operation.
Journalists were on Monday, conducted round one of the illegal refineries, discovered in Yeye community, where the camp was at the last lap of destruction.
But a visit to another illegal camp on Benneth Island, yesterday, revealed a return of illegal refinery operators.
The camp situated on a seven acres of land with over 50 different refineries has one of the them producing over 240 million litres of refined petroleum products in an opened and covered tanks, respectively.
Dewu informed that naval personnel had visited the camp two months ago, for destruction, adding that swap buggy was used to destroy metals used to store the illegally refined products.
He expressed surprise that the youths returned to commence the illegal activities, after the Navy left.
On the operations carried out so far by the command, Dewu said, “In the course of the Base’s operations, it was observed that operators of illegal refineries often return to reactivate refineries that the Base destroyed. Consequently, the Base sustained Swamp Buggy Operations in her area of operation, AOO in order to out rightly destroy these illegal refinery sites and make them extremely difficult to reactivate. The operation recorded tremendous success as there has been significant reduction in the operation of illegal refineries in NNS DELTA’s AOO.
“Additionally, between March 14,2019 and May 4, 2019, the Base conducted three swamp buggy operations in Iwhrekreka, Otovwodo and Otumara communities in Ughelli South and Warri South Local Government Areas of Delta State. At present, the Base is engaged in two swamp buggy operations at Yeye and Benneth Island in Burutu and Warri South Local Government Areas of Delta State respectively.
“In the same vein, the swamp buggy operations has so far led to the destruction of a total of about 63 illegal refinery sites and 1,984 storage facilities containing 8,610 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil and 5,602MT of illegally refined AGO. Also, a total of 80 large wooden boats were destroyed.”
He lamented that some members of the host communities who engage in illegal bunkering sometimes hindered the base’s operation.