Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Over 40 illegal refineries were last Monday night destroyed by the operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA at Jones Creeks in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State in a renewed effort to frustrate the activities of oil thieves in the area.
The illegal refineries were first discovered by the intelligence unit of the NNS Delta on February 9, 2017, but little could be done to evacuate crude oil products due to lack of equipment until men of the security outfit moved in on Monday night to set the product ablaze along with facilities at the illegal refineries sites.
Commander NNS Delta, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, disclosed to journalists yesterday at the Warri Naval shortly after the operation, that he had to order the destruction to prevent the criminals’ from further accessing to the products for their illegal operations.
He said they had to set the suspected crude oil ablaze because the navy does not have equipment to evacuate such a large quantity of product.
“Burning illegal refineries with the crude was our last option so that the people will not come back and evacuate them. However, they cannot even evacuate them because it is in a very large quantity.
“My concern and worry is the effect these illegalities is causing on the environment. We are going to sustain these operations so that we’ll be able to stop all these illegal activities within the creeks in line with the CNS directive.
“This will enable the people in the communities live a normal life because as we speak, aquatic life have been destroyed because the environment is polluted,” he said.
THISDAY recalled that the illegal refineries and over 200 tanks, carrying over 10,000 liters each were uncovered by the navy on February 9, 2017.
This came barely 24 hours after the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, launched ‘Operation Tsare Teku IV’ in Warri to further combat criminal elements operating in the nation’s maritime domain.