19 April 2013, Awka—A combined team of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, the Nigeria Army and the Nigerian Navy have discovered 23 illegal petroleum refineries in Atani, Ogbaru Local Government Area in Anambra.
The NSCDC commandant in the state, Mr. Michael Ochogwu, announced the discovery in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Awka.
Ochogwu said naval officers from their Onitsha outpost discovered the illegal activities and invited the NSCDC to inspect and evacuate the tanks and products.
He said a combined team of the NSCDC, the Nigeria Army and the Nigerian Navy visited the area and discovered 23 illegal refineries near Iyiowa Odekpe, Atani in Ogbaru.
“The areas where the illegal refineries were discovered spanned more than two kilometres. Fire wood used for the refining, refined and unrefined products were discovered. We travelled for almost one and a half hours before reaching the site of the refineries,” he said.
Ochogwu noted that the vandals operating the facilities were not arrested “because they took to their heels on sighting the army and naval officers who discovered their nefarious activities.”
He expressed surprise that for long, some Nigerians had created illegal refineries on river banks to refine crude oil illegally transported from the sea.
While commending the efforts of the naval and army officers, Ochogwu emphasised the need for adequate training and provision of speed boats for the NSCDC to tackle vandalism.
Ochogwu expressed concern with the increasing rate of vandalism in the state.
He called on traditional rulers and members of the public to provide information that could lead to the arrest of suspects.
He appealed to the management of the NNPC to evacuate the 453 drums of illegally refined diesel at its headquarters in Awka.
He said the command was still investigating the matter and that no arrest had been made.