Military deactivates 49 illegal refineries, apprehend 70 oil thieves


The Defence Headquarters says the troops of Operation Delta Safe, have discovered and destroyed 49 illegal refineries in the past two weeks in the Niger Delta.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Bernard Onyeuko, said this while giving an update on military operations from March 10 to March 24, on Thursday in Abuja.

Mr Onyeuko said the troops also destroyed 275 polythene bags containing illegal refined AGO, 146 ovens, 145 receivers, boilers, 125 metal storage tanks, eight GP tanks, 19 drums and 69 50litres jerry cans.

He said that 81 galvanised pipes, 85 dugout pits, five warehouses and pots containing illegal refined AGO were also discovered and destroyed during the period.

Mr Onyeuko said that troops eliminated one militant and recovered 6.6 million litres of illegally refined AGO and a total of 4.4 million litres of stolen crude oil.

According to him, the troops also recovered one gun boat, one BMG gun, one AK47 rifle, five MCs, several rounds of 7.62mm and special ammunition.

Others are 12 motorcycles, 20 wooden boats, 15 pumping machines, two trucks, three speedboats, five engines, one tricycle and five vehicles.

He said that 70 suspects associated with pipeline vandalism and other criminal elements were apprehended during the period.

He said the operations were conducted in different locations across Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and Abia.

Mr Onyeuko also said that the Nigerian Navy, in conjunction with U.S. AFRICOM, recently concluded the 12th Edition of Exercise Obangame Express.

He said the exercise was to create the enabling environment and freedom of Navigation in the Gulf of Guinea.

He said the NN patrol vessels, FV Magnolta and FV Jasmin intercepted fishing vessels carrying out illegal fishing activities on the nation’s coastal waters.

“MT Queen of Peace was intercepted loaded with 1,257 cubic metres of stolen crude oil with 14 crew members on board, while MT Harbour Spirit was also intercepted for suspected illegal activities and forged documents.

“A total of 16 vessels, 21 crew members were interrogated and five arrested within the exercise period.

“The overall assessment of the exercise was adjudged successful as it lived up to its bidding,” he said.