Tompolo, NDDC

…Tompolo’s security firm impounds over 2,000 barrels of stolen crude oil daily

Embarks on profiling of major illegal refining camps, flash points

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South & Akpokona Omafuaire

CRUDE oil bunkerers in Niger Delta have invented a new ploy of cutting down trees in the swampy terrains, which they used to cordon off the creeks to prevent operatives of the security company of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, Tantita Security Services, TSS, from getting access to the hideouts where they keep their illegally refined products, boats and equipment.

However, operatives of Tantita Security Services, engaged by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, for pipeline surveillance, have busted the hoax.

Vanguard learned that in some places where oil thieves used the decoy, the operatives of TSS have been able to impound over 2,000 barrels of crude oil daily (over 48,000 barrels in two weeks). They have also seized several boats and equipment abandoned by the fleeing oil thieves.

Boat leader of Tantita Security Service, Patrick Alla, who spoke to reporters at Oporoza, Warri South-West Local Government Area, on the company’s findings, said: “The illegal oil bunkerers tactically ensure that we fail. Sometimes, they cut down trees across the creeks to conceal their products and boats.

“Therefore, we need to get a motor saw to remove the obstacles to access the abandoned canoes. We discovered massive illegal bunkering operations since we started. We have apprehended many boats loaded with crude oil, and operational speedboats and discovered massive underground storage.

“We found over 40 loaded Cotonou boats but we cannot pull all out because of the terrain. Our operation has been successful but we face the challenges of bringing to our base all the abandoned canoes.”

Tapping points

Also briefing newsmen, Head of Communication, Mr. Christopher Wuruyai, stated: “Now, we have gone into full operations and have discovered many illegal oil-bunkering camps, local reservoirs and storage facilities, which they deploy to them carry out illegal activities.

“We apprehended over 2,000 barrels of crude oil daily; we discovered they get this crude oil from abandoned oil wells and tapping into existing wells.

“Therefore, we are going to write a comprehensive report on how Nigeria can put in modalities to harness abandoned oil wells. The government must manage abandoned oil wells so that bunkerers cannot take advantage of them.

“Though some operators tap directly from existing loading points as they call them, we have discovered many in those flash points, but some areas are very difficult to access because of the terrain. We are putting in modalities to get them secured as we continue.

“What we are doing now is to go into in-depth discovering of all the camps with the collaboration of the Nigerian security agencies, which bear arms to discover the areas where illegal bunkering operations are going on. The major flash points are what we are profiling.

“By the time we start destruction, it will be full scale, we are still working out the proper modality because if we start the destruction of these illegal refineries and reservoirs, it will further cause serious environmental pollution.

“We are still strategizing on the best methods to adopt in the destroying of these illegal camps and refined products and equipment without destroying the environment.

“As you can see from the Oporoza Main Jetty, Warri South West local government area, we have arrested several crude oil boats; there are some that are very massive that we could not pull out of the creeks yet.

“The illegal bunkering operators are highly strategic in their methods, they put in so many resources into the business, and we discovered some Cotonou boats that can contain 1,000 metric tonnes of illegal products.

“We could not pull them out yet because of the terrain; the operators abandoned them on seeing our men approaching. Therefore, we are doing proper profiling of all the illegal refining camps and flash points.

The next action is to demobilize them after getting the right strategies to destroy them without harming the environment. We have succeeded to bring to our base about 20 local boats with products and several speedboats used by the operators.

“Some of the heavily laden Cotonou boats are about to sink and pollute the water, this is a challenge we are grappling with, and we will surmount it in the next few days. Because of the civil approach we took, we could arrest no one yet because they know about our resumption of operation. On sighting our men, they usually flee and abandon their equipment. For now, it is still a civil approach because of the challenges and dimensions of the job.

“Earlier, we met traditional rulers and leaders to understand that we do not derive pleasure in arresting anyone but we want illegal bunkering to stop completely.

  “But now that we have started, if we come upon the opportunity to arrest, we shall do that, what we do now is to apprehend the equipment and operational gadgets they abandon on seeing our men and profiling the flash points,” he said.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.