21 January 2014, Yenagoa – Troops of 343 Regiment of Sector 2 of the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta have conducted a surprise cordon-and-search operation in Igbematoru community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The troops, Nigeria Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps carried out the search on the hideouts of identified suspected illegal oil bunkerers in the community.
At the end of the raids, four persons were arrested by the security operatives.
Media Coordinator, JTF Operation Pulo Shield, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said in a statement on Monday that the operation was informed by the disturbing fact that Igbematoru had been high on the graph of occurrences of illegal oil bunkering in Bayelsa.
He said the cordon-and-search operation, which was successfully executed, had so far yielded positive results.
Nwachukwu said, ” Our troops have recovered several tools used for illegal bunkering such as 103 pumping machines, 32 hoses of various lengths and diameters, 17 hard saw machines and eight adjustable spanners.
“The troops also scuttled three illegal refineries and recovered a large wooden boat (Cotonu boat), 178 drums, 86 jerry cans and several polythene bags concealed in sacks, all laden with stolen crude oil during the operation.”
He said the four suspects arrested in the raids were currently being processed for handing over to the appropriate prosecutorial agency.
Nwachukwu also said troops of 29 and 5 Battalions of Sector 2 anti-illegal oil bunkering patrol squads of the JTF impounded 20 wooden barges and five fibre boats conveying stolen crude oil estimated to be about 213,000 litres in the region.
He said, “The barges and two pumping machines were intercepted in Bodo West, Rivers State and Azagbene creek in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
“During the operation, the troops also uncovered and scuttled two active illegal oil refinery sites concealed in the woods along Biara farmland in Akpor Gokana Local Government Area and Ajudaigbo general area in Warri South Local Government areas of Rivers and Delta states respectively.”
He said 18 surface tanks, 11 drums, four plastic tanks, two pumping machines and hoses of various sizes and lengths were scuttled during the clamp down.
In a similar operation, the media coordinator said troops of 222 Battalion of Sector 1 of the JTF deployed in Kokori flow-station in Delta arrested three suspects for illegally siphoning crude oil from Well Head 14 flow station into a truck .
He said the suspects had already loaded the truck with 20 drums filled with stolen crude oil before they were intercepted.
“The suspects are currently in the custody of 222 Battalion assisting in the preliminary investigations before they will be transferred to a relevant prosecuting agency,” Nwachukwu said.
– The Punch