NAF Conducts Airstrikes, Destroys Illegal Refineries Near Abia, Imo, Rivers Border

Tony Icheku in Owerri and Ikechukwu Aleke in Abuja

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday said that after an airstrike, it destroyed two illegal crude oil refining sites with three surface tanks and reservoirs located near Obiaku and close to the Imo/Abia/Rivers States borders.

The airstrikes came barely 48 hours after NAF Chief of  Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar , announced during a visit to Abia State Governor, Alex Otti,  plans to extend its reach in the deployment of air power in response to national security imperatives in Abia State and the South-east Region.

The NAF Chief had at the meeting requested the Abia State government to provide the Airforce with a parcel of land for the establishment of a Base in Abia to enhance security not only in the state but the entire South-east zone of the country.  
In a release, the Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF,  Air Vice Marshal Edward Gabkwet stated that the air strikes were conducted by the Air Component of Operation Delta Safe.

According to him: “Observing that these sites were active, authorisation was sought and received for air strikes on the targets.
“Building on these successes, air operations under Operation Delta Safe will be intensified especially within the areas of interest in efforts at curtailing the activities of criminal elements.”

The statement noted that the successes recorded in destroying the illegal refining sites further supports the  necessity of setting up a NAF Base in Abia State, which both Otti and Abubakar during their meeting  agreed was long overdue.
“The NAF’s continued efforts in all ongoing operations, yet again, underscore its commitment to maintaining aerial dominance over the Nigerian skies, while collaborating with surface forces towards the safety and security of Nigeria and its citizenry,” the NAF spokesperson stated.

NAF leadership on Friday June 7, 2024, announced plan to establish a permanent presence in Abia State to curtail security threats in the zone.
Abubakar said that NAF presence in Abia State would not only bolster security of the airspace but also provide invaluable support in emergency response, disaster management and community development initiatives.

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