June 22, 2024

Army recovers, destroys 14 boats used for oil bunkering in Abia

Army recovers, destroys 14 boats used for oil bunkering in Abia

…promises hard times for economic saboteurs

By Steve Oko, Umuahia

The Nigerian Army involved in Operation UDOKA, Friday evening, destroyed 14 boats and several drums of crude oil recovered from oil bunkerers at Isimini Waterside, Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State.

General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army Enugu, Major Gen. Hassan Dada, who personally led the operation near an oil flo station in the area, said troops acting on intelligence laid siege on the bunkerers for five days before eventually catching up with them.

He said that six suspects were apprehended and handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, for further interrogations and prosecution.

The GOC, who was flanked by the Brigade Commander in charge of 14 Brigade Nigerian Army, Ohafia, Brig. Gen. Olusola Diya, while addressing newsmen at the creek, said eight of the seized boats were large Cotonu boats while others were small boats.

He said that the bunkerers use their equipment to rupture oil pipelines in the area, steal crude, some of which they refine, and some they take to the high seas and sell at ridiculous prices to the enemies of the country.

The GOC, who said that the leader of the cartel had been identified but was on the run, vowed that no economic saboteur would be given a breeding space within the operational areas of Operation UDOKA.

According to him, the bunkerers use the proceeds of the stolen crude to finance terrorism.

Maj. Gen. Dada warned all those involved in the illicit act to turn a new leaf or brace up for the wrath of the military.

“This is just the beginning of the operation, and we will make sure no stone is left unturned. Anybody found culpable will be dealt with. It’s high time they left this joint operation area because we won’t spare them. Nobody should be involved in any form of economic sabotage within Operation UDOKA joint operation area.

“We are here to ensure that no form of economic sabotage occurs in our joint operational area. We have been here conducting operations against economic saboteurs trying to take crude oil, which is the mainstay of our economy.

“Based on intelligence, we waited for them here for five days until yesterday (Thursday) when they came to get crude oil from the pipeline, then we moved in and recovered 14 boats, some with crude oil.

“They sank some of the boats, and that is why, if you look very well, you will see oil floating there on the water. But any moment from now, we are going to destroy the boats in line with the standing operational procedure.

“We are going to get to the root of the matter. We know the person in charge of this location, and he is on the run, but definitely, we will get him. 

“The Nigerian Army will not in any way tolerate any form of sabotage to the economy of this country. They are more of a cartel, and a lot of scrupulous people are actually involved.

“They take the stolen oil to the high sea and sell to the enemies of the country at ridiculous prices; some they refine into products which are substandard and cause damage to vehicles.”