Spokesman for JTF, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said troops of 5 Battalion of the outfit deployed in Sector 2 area in the Niger Delta impounded two barges laden with illegally sourced crude oil along the Kasabobo creek.
Nwachukwu said the feat was achieved after a weeklong intensive anti-oil theft patrol targeted at sanitising the creeks and waterways of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
This came even as the Bayelsa State Government said the Governor Seriake Dickson administration would rid the state of kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and other crimes.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Lt.Col. Bernard Kenebai (retd.), spoke on behalf of the government in an interview on Tuesday.
“In Bayelsa, the criminals will have to make a personal decision not to be involved in kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and other crimes. Our mandate and commitment is to ensure that we rid Bayelsa of criminals.
“We earnestly must empower security agencies and position them to be able to carry out their statutory responsibilities in such a way that meets the expectations of the citizens.”
Speaking on the impounded oil barges, the JTF spokesman said the Commander, Sector 2, Brig.-Gen. Osasogie Uzamere, ordered the operation following reports that crude oil theft had continued despite JTF’s continuous clampdown on the activities of criminals.
Nwachukwu said, “The troops were ordered by the Commander, Sector 2 Brig.-Gen. Osasogie Uzamere, to embark on the operation following reports of recalcitrance of oil thieves in the area despite regular clampdown by the JTF.
“The barges, christened CWTC 16 and TIKORO 2 with eight compartments each, filled with stolen crude were intercepted by the troops while trying to make its way into the international waters through Forupa channels.”
“The troops also carried out raids on illegal crude oil distillers along Ogbenibiri, Kugbie and Forupa in Southern Ijaw LG where they dismantled eight illegal crude oil distillation sites.
“The troops also scuttled 7 steel reservoirs deceptively buried in the ground and concealed with canopies to prevent detection by troops.”
In a separate operation, Nwachukwu said the anti-oil theft patrol team of 146 Battalion carrying out surveillance along PPMC right-of-way arrested 4 suspects at an active illegal crude oil distillation site at George Kiri near Bonny Island.
He said 21 drums containing illegally distilled Automated Gas Oil loaded in four 75HP OBM speed boat were recovered from the suspects.
He said, “A cordon and search conducted around the illegal refinery site led to the discovery of a metal pipe connection welded on PPMC pipeline which would require the assistance of a technician to be disconnected. The suspects recovered items have been taken into custody pending further investigation.”
– Simon Utebor, The Punch