JTF destroys 100 illegal refineries in Delta

Emma Amaize & Akpokona Omafuaire

24 October 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI— THE Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, codenamed, Operation Pulo Shield, has launched another attack on crude oil thieves, destroying over 100 illegal refineries at Saghara community in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.

The more than three hours operation, was carried out by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, 3 Battalion, Effurun, Delta State, commanded by Lt. Col. Ifeanyi Otu, on a dreaded crude oil refining depot known as “Shrine Refinery” at Saghara.

The soldiers seized large volumes of refined products and several pumping machines, but nobody was arrested during the operation.

Addressing journalists after the raid, Lt. Col Otu said: “We remain committed to protecting our oil facilities and ending the business of oil thieves. We are determined to put an end to illegal oil bunkering in Nigeria.

“What you witnessed today is a continuation of our efforts to stamp out illegal oil thieves. We will not be deterred by the pockets of illegal refineries springing up here and there.

“We warn those engaged in these illegal businesses to direct their energies to legitimate means of livelihood, which will be beneficial to all. Our nation will benefit if these skills are directed to nation building rather than destroying the economy and aquatic lives.

“I urge all those sabotaging our efforts to repent because when they are caught they will not be spared. I call on citizens to report any criminal or suspicious activities to us.”

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  • We commend the efforts of the JTF and urge the government to recognise that, perhaps, in addition to security measures, the time to consider other measures aimed at disuading youngmen and women from resorting to crude oil theft and illegal refining activities, may have come.