Army Uncovers Illegal 14 Crude Oil Reservoirs in Rivers

Army Uncovers Illegal 14 Crude Oil Reservoirs in Rivers

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army has uncovered a bunkering site with 14 reservoirs used to stock over three million litres of crude oil meant for illegal refining activities in Odagwa community, Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.

This was discovered yesterday when the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division, Nigerian Army/ Land Component Commander, Joint Task Force, South South, Operation DELTA SAFE, Major-General Jamal Abdussalam, led an operation to the site.

Speaking with journalists during the operation, the GOC said the operators of the illegal reservoirs had about 49 crude oil boilers where they refined crude and moved it out through various channels.

Abdussalam noted that even with helicopter or drones, it would be difficult to discover the level of illegality existing in that forest. He disclosed that the discovery was made possible based on discreet intelligence, which led to locating over 14 reservoirs containing over 200,000 litres of crude oil each.

The GOC explained that: “The idea of this movement is to let Nigeria and Nigerians know exactly what is happening. This place is totally forested, even from the air using helicopter and drones, you will not be able to see what we actually saw on the ground.

“Based on credible intelligence which led us to this location, we have discovered so many illegalities taking place here. We have seen over 14 reservoirs which can contain upward of 200,000 litres of crude, in this bush.

“We also discovered about 49 boilers which are capable of processing crude oil, all located in this forest. And you have seen the network of pipes and cables and other tools connected around the whole area.”

He further explained that: “The crude we discovered in this site is in excess of daily crude export of Nigeria, which is very pathetic and very sad. Outside this bridge, we have a lot of well heads; most of them are not in use. It is from these well heads that these our people (bunkerers) put pipes and siphon this crude oil.”

The GOC also revealed that the discovery was part of their efforts to ensure that the federal government gets what is due to it, saying the budget has been passed by the National Assembly and gotten presidential assent. And it has become law.

He stressed that the budget is based on some parameters, “and one of those parameters is the crude oil production that we churn out everyday.  So, any drop in that crude oil production will affect everybody in this country.  But, our people are not aware of that and that is why they engage in this criminal and dirty business.”

Abdussalam, however, vowed that the military would sustain the fight against economic sabotage, assuring Nigerians that the key players in the illegalities would be tracked.

“Few arrests have been made; but those arrested are not the key players in this business. They are basically labourers. The main players have not been caught; but now that we have discovered this place, with proper intelligence and investigation, we are going to apprehend them,” the GOC promised.

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