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Army bust two illegal refineries,recover 48,000 litres of fuel


Two illegal refining sites has been uncovered by the Nigerian Navy Ship Delta in the coastal communities of Ajasolor and Ogbukoko in the Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The Joint Task Force, codenamed Operation Delta Safe, also announced the arrest of four suspects and the recovery of 48,000 litres of stolen crude oil in Rivers State.

According to the PUNCH, the Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Abba Muhsin, represented by the Base Operations Officer, Navy Commander Patrick Ali, led naval personnel to the illegal sites on Monday, where five metallic storage tanks, four ovens and five dugout pits were uncovered.

Commodore Muhsin disclosed that a suspect was apprehended with a wooden boat while crude oil well heads were also vandalised.

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“Based on credible intelligence, the NNS Delta gunboat team discovered illegal refining sites in Warri South Local Government Area.

“This was in line with the Chief of Naval Staff’s mandate of Operation Delta Sanity to end crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism and securing critical maritime assets.

“This is one of the series of actions in keeping Delta safe and secure,” he said.

Speaking further on the uncovered illegal refining sites, Muhsin said “Due process would be followed,” just as he noted that the Nigerian Navy was environmentally friendly.

“You can see the hoodlums set one of the dugout pits on fire and ran away, thus causing environmental degradation. Navy is environmentally friendly, we will follow due process,” he stated.

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The NNS Delta Commander warned oil thieves and other criminals operating in the maritime space to desist or face the full wrath of the law.

He said, “The NNS Delta is determined to rid of its areas of operations of crude oil theft and other forms of illegalities.”

He thanked all the agencies and individuals that had supported the efforts of the NNS Delta in achieving the feats.

Meanwhile, a statement from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Monday, the JTF Commander, Rear Adm. John Okeke, said the arrest of four suspects and the recovery of 48,000 litres of crude oil were made by the Operation Delta Safe Quick Response Force.

Okeke said following a reliable intelligence report, the force apprehended one of the suspects while driving an open-body truck covered with tarpaulin along Abuloma Road.

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“The truck was carrying 28 containers, each with a capacity of 1,000 litres of crude oil, totalling 28,000 litres. The truck and its contents were immediately secured,” he said.

The commander further said that the force recently conducted an anti-illegal bunkering operation within the Elele general operation area in Port Harcourt.

He said that the team intercepted a tanker truck laden with approximately 20,000 litres of stolen crude oil.

“The tanker and its contents were consequently seized and handled in line with our operational procedures.

“So we have successfully handled two trucks and seized approximately 48,000 liters of stolen crude oil during these operations,” he said.