This is expected to go on together with the current approach of military operations against pipeline vandalism and illegal refineries.
Media Coordinator, JTF, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said in Yenagoa that the 146 Battalion, Sector 2, of the outfit had tried out the strategy in Okpomakiri, Gokana Local Government of Rivers State.
“JTF has carried out a sensitisation visit to the community where its officials admonished the elders on the dangers inherent in youths engaging in pipeline vandalism.
“The JTF solicited the support of the elders of the community in curbing the menace and urged them to caution their youths to desist from any act of illegality,” he said.
But, even after the appeals, JTF’s troops from the sector raided the Cawthorne Channel and Bodo West creeks in Okpomakiri, K-Dere and B-Dere, destroying 16 illegal refineries.
“The outfit also scuttled an attempt to smuggle 15 wooden boats conveying about 26, 000 litres of stolen crude oil,” he said, adding that JTF impounded a self-propelled barge, 18 open boats, 133 plastic surface tanks and 28 pumping machines involved in crude oil theft in the region.
The barge, laden with stolen petroleum products, was intercepted by by the Maritime Component troops of the JTF deployed in Forward Operations Base, Burutu in Delta State.
“Preliminary investigations are still being conducted to ascertain the quantity of product in the barge and its degree of culpability.
“Three of the illegal oil distillation camps which had 138 plastic tanks of 7,500 litre-capacity each, 23 steel surface tanks, 16 pumping machines, two generators and one welding machine were found out by patrol operatives of 3 Battalion, Sector 1 at Otumara, Obe/Jesse communities of Delta State.
“Three other camps used for illegal distillation of crude oil were also scuttled in Gbelebu in Ovia South West Local Government of Edo State,” Nwachukwu further said.