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Army bursts illegal refining sites in Rivers, arrests 5 suspects

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.Discovers five reservoirs with 225,000 litres of stolen crude

 

Emmanuel Nlewedum, Port Harcourt

 

 

Operatives of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, on Wednesday busted an illegal crude oil refining site in a thick forest in Odagwa Community in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The Army during the operation also discovered 5 reservoirs  with 225,000 litres of stolen crude, and arrested five suspected oil thieves.

 

The General Officer Commanding, GOC, 6 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Jamal Abdussalam who conducted newsmen round the illegal bunkering site said the operation was carried out following credible intelligence on the activities of criminals in the area.

The GOC, represented by the Commanding Officer, 29 battalion under the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant Colonel Ishaya Manga, hinted that the operation was in continuation of the commitment and determination of the 6 Division’s to fight illegal oil bunkering and other forms of criminality to a standstill within it’s area of responsibility.

Major General Abdussalam described activities of the oil thieves as a fight against the 6 Division Nigerian Army, the Federal Government and a sabotage to the nation’s economy.

He said, “It is against this backdrop that the troops of six division were directed to identify, locate and destroy all illegal refineries within the 6 Division area of responsibility.

“As you can see behind me is one of the reservoir that was discovered by own troops while on operation. There are other reservoirs very close to us while some are in other places and that is why we brought you here to see for yourselves and communicate to the general public about what is going on.

“This is economic sabotage against the federal government, impacting negatively on the social economic activities, as well as the health of the citizens and that is why we are here.

“We would continue to do our best to ensure that all illegal refineries in this area are destroyed.

Speaking further, the GOC said, “Apart from these reservoirs, there are other cooking pots at various locations not far from here which would be completely destroyed.

“In this general area of Odagwa, our troops have discovered about five reservoirs filled with about 45,000 liters of illegal crude oil and there are other empty reservoirs too discovered by the troops. The operation is ongoing and we will continue to make further discoveries. As soon as the discoveries are made, the public would be informed.”

The Army Chief used the medium to warn other persons involved in illegal oil bunkering in the state to repent and desist from the act and every other crime related to the activities or face the wrath of the law.

“When you look at the vegetations here, you will observe that it is deeply forested and hardly could you even imagine that something of this nature is taking place here, but with the intervention of the local population, we are able to get to those locations.

“I also want to send a message to those oil bunkerers to desist from this criminality because it is against the law, this is sabotage against the federal government, Rivers State government and the community where this heinous crime is being carried out.

“So far we have arrested five suspects and those arrested would be taken to the division where they would referred to the relevant authorities for prosecution.”

He however commended members of the public for providing them with useful information that has assisted security agencies in their fight against crime in the state.

“We use two approaches to our discoveries, one of the approaches is drones, but it is not everything that the drone can sight, so we deployed our second approach which is human intelligence and that is what we’ve been using so far and it has been yielding tremendous results,” he said.

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