Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Over 40 illegal refineries were uncovered by men of the Edo State Police Command at a forest in Egono village, near Auchi, headquarters of Estako West local government area of the state.
The policemen, who were combing the forest in search of criminals and kidnappers hideout in the forest, stumbled upon the illegal refineries.
The refineries believed to be owned by different individuals have separate compartments for refining crude oil to kerosene, petrol and diesel.
Those involved in the illegal act took advantage of the ruptured crude oil pipeline that run through the community and connected a pipe to siphon crude oil from the pipeline to their refineries.
To make their job easy, owners of the refineries dug the earth in several places to store the refined products before they are filled into gallons or drums.
State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Babatunde Kokumo, who visited the illegal refineries site, described it as a monumental loss to the country’s revenue.
The Commissioner who said six persons were arrested at the site wondered why persons contracted to protect oil pipelines by the NNPC failed to detect the place for many years.
He said he has contacted officials of NNPC to fix the ruptured pipelines. His words, “My policemen on bush combing exercise in search of criminals and kidnappers stumbled on these illegal refineries.
“The activities of the operators have taken over the entire village. You can see that this place has become ravaged. From what we have seen, they ferry the products through this river. My men have taken over the entire area. We have destroyed their equipment. The NNPC has on its payroll those employed for the protection of pipelines. I am surprised nobody knows about this,” he added.