Oil theft: Armed Forces intensifies fight against economic sabotage in Niger Delta
- Posts strings of successful anti-crude oil theft operations
With strings of successful anti-crude oil theft and anti-smuggling operations to show, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is intensifying efforts at curbing economic sabotage in the Niger Delta areas. In June 2020 alone, the Armed Forces, through the coordinated efforts of naval ships on patrol mission, have discovered illegal refining sites, intercepted boats laden with products and seized boats on smuggling activities, in different parts of the Niger Delta region.
In a statement issued on Monday by the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Maj Gen John Enenche, the Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA on 10 Jun 20, discovered a newly constructed illegal refining site around Bennett Island in Warri South LGA of Delta State. The site had 5 ovens, 5 coolers and 8 surface metal storage tanks cumulatively laden with about 943.3 barrels of product suspected to be crude oil. No arrest was made as the perpetrators fled on sighting the patrol team. Same day, the team located another illegal refining site around Uwakeno Community in Warri South LGA of Delta State.
According to the statement, the site had 4 ovens, 4 coolers, 6 surface metal storage tanks and 2 dug out pits cumulatively laden with about 10,000 litres of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO and 440.2 barrels of stolen crude oil. The storage facilities were confiscated and the site has been earmarked for swamp buggy operation.
Continuing, Gen Enenche stated that “Acting on intelligence report, Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA patrol team on 13 June intercepted a large wooden boat laden with about 70,000 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO in 6 metal storage tanks along Benin River in Warri North LGA of Delta State. Efforts are ongoing to convey the boat and content to the Base”.
In the same vein, the statement said, “Nigerian Navy Ship PATHFINDER patrol team conducted anti-Crude Oil Theft (COT)/anti-illegal bunkering operations in its Area of Responsibility during the week. On 9 Jun 20, the Base patrol team located an illegal refining site around Isaka and Alakiri general area. The site had reservoirs laden with an about 1,257 barrels of crude oil. The site was dismantled. No arrest was made as the perpetrators fled on sighting the patrol team”.
Gen Enenche also in the statement revealed that Operation CALM WATERS and Operation SWIFT RESPONSE have continued to record remarkable successes.
“The successes recorded within the week include seizure of foreign parboiled rice as well as arrest of boats involved in smuggling activities amongst others. On 8 Jun 20, operatives of the Joint Border Drill intercepted an abandoned truck at Agbaragba Market, Ikom LGA of Cross River State loaded with 410 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice. The rice was suspected to have been smuggled in from Republic of Cameroon. Accordingly, the bags of rice and vehicle were evacuated to Mfum Border Post for onward movement to Government Warehouse, Calabar, the statement added.
Meanwhile on 12 Jun 20, the combined teams of OSR and Nigeria Customs Service Strike Force acting on credible intelligence raided a makeshift warehouse at Ishiet, Uruan LGA of Akwa Ibom State and confiscated 305 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice. The bags of rice were evacuated to Nigeria Customs Warehouse, Uyo for further action.
According to the statement, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas has congratulated the troops for their professionalism and efforts in curbing economic sabotage within the maritime environment. Equally the High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria congratulates the troops and urges them to remain steadfast and focused as they sustain the fight against economic sabotage.