The Defence Headquarters says the military is intensifying efforts toward curbing crude oil stealing and economic sabotage in Nigeria’s South-South geo-political zone.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, made the disclosure in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
Enenche said that the Nigerian Navy Ship, `Delta’ on June 10, discovered a newly-constructed illegal refining site around Bennett Island in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
He explained that the site had five ovens, five coolers and eight surface metal storage tanks cumulatively laden with about 943.3 barrels of product, suspected to be crude oil.
Enenche said that no arrest was made because the perpetrators fled on sighting a patrol team.
“Same day, the team located another illegal refining site around Uwakeno Community in Warri South LGA.
“The site had four ovens, four coolers, six surface metal storage tanks and two dug-out pits cumulatively laden with about 10,000 litres of products, suspected to be illegally refined AGO and 440.2 barrels of stolen crude oil.
“The storage facilities were confiscated and the site has been ear-marked for swamp buggy operation,” he said.
Enenche said that the Navy patrol team also intercepted a large wooden boat laden with about 70,000 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO in six metal storage tanks along Benin River in Warri North on June 13.
He said that efforts were ongoing to convey the boat and content to the Naval Base.
The coordinator said that the Navy Ship, Pathfinder patrol team located an illegal refining site around Isaka and Alakiri general area during the week.
He said the site had reservoirs laden with about 1,257 barrels of crude oil, adding that the site was dismantled.
According to him, Operation Calm Waters and Operation Swift Response made seizure of foreign parboiled rice as well as the arrest of boats involved in smuggling during the week.
Enenche also recalled that on June 8, operatives of the Joint Border Drill, intercepted an abandoned truck at Agbaragba Market in the Ikom LGA of Cross River, loaded with 410 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice.
“The rice was suspected to have been smuggled in from Cameroon.
“Accordingly, the bags of rice and vehicle were evacuated to Mfum Border Post for onward movement to Government Warehouse in Calabar.
“Meanwhile, on June 12, the combined teams of OSR and Nigeria Customs Service Strike Force raided a make-shift warehouse at Ishiet in the Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom and confiscated 305 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice.
“The bags of rice were evacuated to Nigeria Customs Warehouse in Uyo for further action.
“The Chief of Naval Staff congratulates the troops for their professionalism and efforts in curbing economic sabotage within the maritime environment.
“Equally, the high command of the armed forces of Nigeria congratulates the troops and urges them to remain steadfast and focused as they sustain the fight against economic sabotage,” Enenche said. (NAN)