Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (NNFOB) in Bonny, Rivers State, has arrested three persons and intercepted materials meant for construction of illegal refineries in the area.
The recorded achievements THISDAY learnt was in renewed effort against crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region under the auspices of ‘Operation Delta Sanity’.
The Navy also revealed the arrest of a wooden boat and two small fibre boats laden with an estimated 20,500 litres of illegally refined automotive gas oil.
The operatives under the directive of the Commanding Officer of NNFOB, Commodore Reginald Adoki, carried out the operation which led to the arrest of the suspects and interception of the materials in the Cawthorne Channel area in Bonny.
In a statement issued by the NNFOB, Bonny, yesterday, it states that in a decisive move against illegal bunkering activities, men of the Base intercepted a group of suspected hoodlums transporting metal sheets and rods intended to construct cooking ovens to refine stolen crude oil illegally.
According to the statement, “The metal sheets and rods confiscated during the operation are critical to constructing makeshift ovens for processing stolen crude oil.
“The items were intercepted during a patrol by the Base along the Cawthorne Channel in Degema Local Government Area. The interception further led to the arrest of three individuals involved in the illicit trade.”
The statement also revealed that, “upon interrogation, the arrested suspects admitted that the items were meant to be employed to construct cooking ovens for an illegal refining site around the Cawthorne Channel”.
The Base led by Commandore Adoki continued in the statement that “In line with Standard Operating Procedures, the arrested suspects and exhibits have been handed over to the appropriate agency for further investigation and possible prosecution.
“It is worth mentioning that the patrol team also intercepted three large wooden boats and two small fibre boats laden with an estimated 20,500 litres of illegally refined automotive gas oil (AGO).”
The Base explained that the interception of such materials is part of intensified disruption operations commenced by the Nigerian Navy, aimed at cutting off the supply chain of illegal refining sites.
It asserted that under Operation Delta Sanity, proactive measures have been emplaced to curtail the activities of illegal refining sites within the Niger Delta region, pointing out that the success of the operations would no doubt reduce the need to destroy illegal refining sites when completed, thus protecting the environment and preventing crude oil theft from pipelines.
“The arrested individuals would be held accountable for their involvement in activities that jeopardize both the safety and the integrity of the Niger Delta environment.
“The source of the materials has been confirmed, and the Nigerian Navy will initiate actions to apprehend other parties involved in the illegal refining supply chain,” the statement added.