Mkpoikana Udoma 29 January 2015, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Joint Military Task Force, JTF, saddled with the responsibility of tackling oil theft, illegal refining and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta, says it has recorded tremendous success in its operations in the region.
The JTF said Sector 5 Special Squad of its anti illegal oil bunkering team, deployed at the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, flow stations in Akri community of Imo state, has discovered an oil theft syndicates specialising in pipeline vandalism in the area.
Suspected members of the syndicates, Longinus Adizua and Ijeoma Chidi, both native of Oguta Local Government Area of the state were arrested while vandalising oil pipeline belonging to Agip.
The JTF in a statement by its Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, Lt. Col. Ado Disa, said “items discovered from the bunkerers includes handsaw and blades, four mobile phones, 4-inch hose and cash sum of N14,900”.
According to the statement, the suspects and items recovered were handed over to the 34 Artillery Brigade Provost Group for further investigations.
The statement also said the Sector 1 of the anti-oil theft team, operating along Sapele-Warri check point in Delta State , also arrested Mr. Colllins Duru and Chidi Eme for illegal oil bunkering.
It said the arrest was in the aftermath of the discovery of three vehicles loaded with suspected illegally refined Automated Gas Oil or diesel, parked in the premises of Jes-Mota Company in Sapele.
“The vehicles and the products were evacuated to a safe place and destroyed in line with the JTF mandate in the region while the arrested suspects were handed over to the joint task force for further action”.
Lt. Col. Disa, in the statement, also said that troops of 3 Battalion of the sector at Egwu 1 and Isaba area in Warri South and Burutu Local Government Areas of Delta State has also discovered some illegal oil bunkering sites where oil thieves operates with Cotonou (wooden) boats filled with stolen crude oil, 38 cooking oven, two pumping machines and 18 metal drums filled with illegal distilled AGO.
Other items discovered at the site included three dugout pits, forty surface tanks and other illegal oil bunkering equipments.
The site was destroyed together with the items. No suspect was arrested during the operation as the suspects jumped inside water and escaped on sighting the troops.
The statement also included that troops of 19 Battalion of sector 1 in Kokori, Ethiope-East Local Government Area of Delta Edo state have arrested one Agboka Felix, Monday Ugboh and Benjamin Madogwe for oil theft at a wellhead belonging to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Cooperation, NPDC.
According to the statement, “They were arrested on board a white coloured Ford Transit Bus with registration number ‘EDO XR 253’ loaded with crude oil from the vandalised oil wellhead”.
“The troops also destroyed illegal bunkering site along Ogbekpeh Rivers in Akpoba Okha LGA of Edo state”.
“Items recovered at the site includes 9 cooking drums, three underground reservoir filled with crude oil,16 plastic tanks and one pumping machine,” the statement further said.