JTF sets illegal refineries ablaze in Delta

Emma Arubi

28 May 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI – DETERMINED to rid the Niger Delta region of illegal bunkering activities, the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, Sunday, destroyed several illegal refineries in Onyobru Town in Jesse, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.

Leader of the troops, Lt Col. Abubakar Wase, who is commander, 4 Brigade Garrison, Sector One, Benin, said the task force would not relent in its renewed effort to wipe out illegal bunkering in the region.

Various drums, tanks and pipes used in connecting crude oil to areas where it is refined in Onyobru Town, were razed alongside the illegal refineries.

The crude oil line which supplies products from Warri Refinery to Kaduna Refinery, had been under attack from pipelines vandals, a situation that had caused several disruptions to the line.

The JTF had earlier burnt a tanker used for loading the product in Aghalokpe, Sapele, Delta State.

It would be recalled that over one thousand persons died in Jesse community about 13 years ago when a petroleum pipeline from which fuel was being siphoned, caught fire.

The tragic incident had, however, not deterred some members of the community who had found the illegal business too attractive to abandon.

Lt. Col. Wase told newsmen that the Army was tipped off by some women in the town who were uncomfortable with the action of the youths.

The entire Jesse River had been covered with crude oil, causing severe damage to aquatic life and arable land in the community.

The Army said they would continue to destroy the illegal refineries and tackle the perpetrators until total elimination of the menace was achieved.

Wase said: “This illegal business already costs the nation a lot in terms of loss of revenue, loss of the environment and the attendant health hazard. This is an ongoing operation and all our activities are now geared toward the eradication of this illegal business.”

He refuted claims that the army was involved in illegal oil bunkering, adding that those involved in the business were mere criminals.

Lt. Col. Wase noted that with the destruction of the illegal refineries and the deployment of soldiers in the area, the Warri /Kaduna trunk line would now be more secure and free of frequent disruptions.

He called for more information from the local any where illegal bunkering activity is taking place, promising to treat such information in strict confidentiality

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