Tackling Crude Oil Theft/Militancy: Troops demobilize 1,423 Illigal Refinery Sites in Niger Delta, Recover 40 million litres of Stolen Crude Oil; Arrests 567 suspects, destroy 51 Militants Camps.

The Defence headquarters on Thursday disclosed that troops of the Joint Task Force (South-South), Operation Delta Safe successfully demobilized a total of 1,423 illegal refining sites in the Niger Delta while 4,929 illegal storage facilities and 536 large Cotonou boats used for smuggling were destroyed.

Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig Gen Bernard Onyeuko in a briefing said about 40 million litres of crude oil and 67 million litres of illegally refined products mostly AGO were recovered from the criminals during the operations, leading to arrest of 567 suspects.

Noting that the operations involving Special Forces of the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies spanned January to date, Onyeuko said troops
also destroyed 51 such camps used by criminal elements and militants to perpetrate various infractions while 153 assorted weapons as well as large number of various calibre of ammunitions were recovered from the criminals.

He said, “The anti-Crude Oil Theft (COT) efforts of the JF during the period in consideration has led to the demobilization of about 1,423 illegal oil refining sites (each of which contains many camps), over 4,929 storage facilities and 536 large wooden boats, popularly called ‘Cotonou boats’ among others.

“Also, 13 ships laden with crude oil cargo, 9 barges, 137 trucks and other types of vehicles conveying illegally refined products were arrested.

“Additionally, about 40 million litres of crude oil and 67 million litres of illegally refined products mostly AGO were recovered from the criminals.

“In the process of conducting these operations, 567 suspects were arrested in connection with various crimes.

“The suspects and exhibits have all been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agencies for prosecution.

“While the NN is tackling the piracy issues at the high seas, the JTF is appropriately handling the backwaters.

“At present, due to the sustained clearance operations on sea robbers/pirates and other criminals’ camps within the JOA, the number of sea robbery and pirate attacks in Nigerian waters as well as the Gulf of Guinea respectively, have drastically reduced.

“For instance, in 2021, there were 28 reported cases of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea which forms part of Nigeria’s waters while within the same period, only 4 attacks were recorded in Nigerian Waters.

‘Nonetheless, the JTF SS OPDS would maintain the tempo of clearance operations on pirate camps in order to sustain the current gains.

“For instance, in 2021, there were 28 reported cases of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea which forms part of Nigeria’s waters while within the same period, only 4 attacks were recorded in Nigerian Waters.

On cearance of Militants’/Pirates’ Camps, the Director said, “During the period in focus, the JF conducted several clearance operations. The objectives of the operations were to get rid of militants and pirates/sea robbers taking refuge in the JOA.

“In all, about 51 such camps were completely destroyed while 153 assorted weapons as well as large number of various calibre of ammunitions were recovered from the criminals.

Regarding the protection of oil and gas facilities, Brig Gen Onyeuko said, “The JF conducts static deployments, escort duties and patrols around major oil and gas facilities within the JOA. These deployments and patrols have drastically reduced third party infractions on such facilities.

“As part of efforts to sustain the drive towards protecting oil facilities, the JTF SS OPDS partners with key oil industry players to save the crude oil pipelines from activities of criminals.

“The partnership has so far yielded successes in the areas of curbing pipeline vandalism.

“It is therefore, desirable that operational capability of the Force be continuously enhanced so as to sustain a stable security environment in the Niger Delta in general and the oil and gas infrastructure in particular.

“In support of the protection of O&G infrastructure in the JOA, the JTF SS OPDS has continued to effectively utilize the non-kinetic conflicts containment and resolution mechanism.

“These include using the appropriate legal and judicial instruments, Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) mediations efforts to resolve mostly Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) related disputes between host communities and O & G companies as well as involving media campaigns by way of radio jingles to sensitize members of the public on the ills of illegal oil bunkering and refining activities.

“One of the most effective non-kinetic approach to conflict containment and resolution effort is the observance of human rights and resolution of conflicts through the judicial processes.

“It is important to note that the JF has always adhered to court summons, injunctions and other judicial processes in the resolution of conflicts.

“The OPDS Legal Unit has successfully defended various cases in court during the period under review while others were amicably resolved out of court.

“This approach has tremendously contributed to the peace that is being observed generally in the region today. We hope to reinforce and sustain this effort having realised its effectiveness.

“CIMIC Mediation Efforts. Within the year 2021, the JTF SS OPDS has amicably resolved about 54 Corporate Social Responsibility-related heated disputes involving oil companies such as; SEEPCO, SPDC, AITEO, NECONDE and NAOC among others, with their host communities.

“The employment of non-kinetic instruments has contributed immensely to averting breaches against Oil and Gas infrastructure by host communities which has thus, significantly contributed to providing a conducive environment for O&G businesses to thrive.

“Similarly, due to the level of trust and confidence that both the O & G companies and the host communities have reposed on the OPDS, the JF has minimal cases of human rights abuses which could mostly arise from confrontations with troops by aggrieved parties.

“While counting the JTF remarkable achievements in 2021, I will not forget to acknowledge the tremendous support and encouragements always received from the CDS, Gen L.E.O Irabor, the service chiefs as well as other heads of security agencies that contribute personnel for the operations of the JTF.

“We sincerely thank them all. I wish to also thank every stake holder, the general public as well as members of the press, for being there for us as we try to protect the interest of our dear country Nigeria.

“Similarly, may I appreciate the efforts of the gallant troops as well as all other security operatives who have continuously shown commitments in their assigned responsibilities towards our journey to nation building.”

END

legitnewsnigeria

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here