The Nigeria Army has seized about 5 million litres of stolen crude oil, worth billions of naira, a senior army official has revealed.
Maj.-Gen. Jamaal Abdussalam, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt, led newsmen to the location of the seized petroleum product in Oyibo, Rivers, on Wednesday.
He said troops made the discovery following intelligence report that uncovered a massive illegal refining site in a dense forest at Kom-Kom community in Oyibo.
“In continuation of our ongoing operations to dismantle all illegal refineries and illegal (pipeline) connections, on January 31, we received credible intelligence about the activities of oil thieves in Oyibo.
“Upon receiving the intelligence report, troops were deployed and they raided the location (illegal refinery).
“At first, I thought we would not find anything considering the last raid we carried out in Odagwa, but we discovered massive illegal bunkering activities taking place there.
Abdussalam emphasized that the discovery of the illegal bunkering site was a significant breakthrough in Federal Government’s efforts to rid the country of oil thieves and economic saboteurs.
“During the raid on the illegal facility, we discovered over 15 boilers and nine reservoirs containing over 5 million litres of stolen crude oil reserved for processing.
“On our way here, we also found five large foreign (Cotonou) boats filled with 200 to 300 litres of crude oil each along the Imo River leading to the forest.
“It is sad that these illegal activities have continued despite efforts to curb them. However, we will persist until we bring an end to the menace,” he added.
The senior officer stated that intelligence reports revealed the involvement of oil thieves and pipeline vandals who were supported by individuals who are bent on undermining government’s efforts.
He said that the Nigerian Army had already initiated actionable steps to curb illegal bunkering and pledged the division’s dedication to ending the menace.
“Illegal refineries are not established by ordinary individuals on the roadside. It requires expertise and meticulous setup – beyond the capabilities of the labourers we arrested the last time.
“Therefore, we call on the criminals involved in this illicit enterprise to engage in legitimate businesses and allow the government to do what it is supposed to do,” he cautioned. (NAN)