Authorities of the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Delta have accused the Ijaw of Warri South West Local Government Area of attempting to damage the reputation of the Navy with a view to divert their attention in the fight against illegal bunkering and Operation of illegal refineries in the area.
The accusation followed a petition by the Ijaw People’s Development Initiative (IPDI) alleging that personnel of the Nigerian Navy invaded their community in search of oil thieves which IPDI said we’re nowhere in the area.
IPDI claimed that during the alleged invasion, an Ijaw youth , one Mr Danzu Michael was killed in Benneth island adding that the the naval personnel also shot sporadically at Salvation city community in the local government for several hours in the name of searching for oil thieves.
Its President, Comrade Austin Ozobo in a letter to Naval headquarters alleged that the shooting at Salvation city community, caused panic in the area as residents scampered for safety.
However, NNS Delta authorities dismissed the allegations saying “They IPDI are just trying to damage our goid work. We have carried out serious swamp buggy operations and the criminals are not happy about it.
Reacting to questions by SecurityKing News, Rear Admiral Ibrahim Dewu, Commanding Officer said, “The Operation was carried out during the COVID 19 Lockdown. Why did they come out and engaged in illegal refining?
‘No body was shot at and the entire operation was successful and our men are alway professional in the conduct of all operations.
“Our operations at Benneth island had no casualty , we were also mindful of the environment. We had no record of death during our operation.
“They (IPDI), comprising bunch of lawyers just want to discourage us from the fight agaisnt illegality but this will not discourage the fight against illegal oil bunkering and economic sabotage”.
While claiming that no illegal bunkering activities occur in the communities, IPDI further said, “We wish to state that invasion of an entire community in the name of looking for alleged oil bunkers amounts to the violation of the fundamental right of members of the Salvation City Community. Our Client is not against efforts to stop people who involve themselves in acts of criminality and are ready to work with security agencies in this respect.
The group then demanded that the office of the Chief of Naval Staff carry out a thorough investigation of the alleged ‘unlawful killing’ of Danzu Michael and frequent invasions of Salvation City Community by officers of NNS Delta and bring those officers to justice to act as deterrent to others in the future.
It would be recalled that the Defence headquarters recently exposed the illegal activities of illegal oil bunkering leading to NNS Delta deploying Swamp Buggies to destroy illegal refineries in Delta state while NNS Pathfinder deployed special boat device personnel to intercept large wooden Canoe boats laden with thousands of litters of both stolen crude.
Speaking on the development, Major General John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operations had said, “On 7 April 2020, following discovery that some illegal refineries that were dismantled on Bennett Island in Feb 20 had been reactivated, Nigerian Navy Ship Delta in conjunction with an Ocean Marine Service (OMS) surveillance crew deployed 2 swamp buggies to the Island for anti-illegal bunkering/Crude Oil Theft (COT) operations.
“The team commenced swamp buggy operations at the illegal refining sites and deactivated 24 ovens, 35 receivers, 25 surface metal storage tanks and covered one dug out pit.
“Additionally, on 8 Apr 20, the team located another illegal refining site at Bennett Island.
“During the operation, 14 ovens, 20 receivers and 21 surface metal storage tanks were dismantled.
“Similarly, on 10 Apr 20, the combined team of NNS Delta and OMS surveillance crew commenced the swamp buggy operation at Bennett Island in Warri South LGA of Delta State.
“The team located an illegal refining site and deactivated 4 ovens, 14 surface metal storage tanks and 5 coolers.
“Furthermore, the team discovered an illegal valve connection along the Trans-Forcados pipeline suspected to have been connected by pipeline vandals.
“The valve and associated fittings were disconnected and recovered to the OMS Houseboat at Yeye.
“Similarly, on 7 Apr 20, Forward Operating Base Escravos team intercepted 2 wooden boats without engines controlled by one fibre boat powered by a 40HP engine along Banga Village Creek, Opuedebubor, Warri South West LGA, Delta State.
“The wooden boats were laden with about 3,000 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO, packaged in polyethylene bags.
“Consequently, the boats were towed to a safe place and impounded.
“Same day, the team visited a reactivated Illegal Refining Site (IRS) along Opuedebubor Creek behind Banga Village in Warri South West LGA Delta State.
Same day, the team visited a reactivated Illegal Refining Site (IRS) along Opuedebubor Creek behind Banga Village in Warri South West LGA Delta State.
“The site had 14 refining units, 24 metal storage tanks, 15 metal drums and 12 dugout pits.
“Cumulatively, the IRS had about 400,000 litres of AGO, 2,201 barrels of crude oil and 25,000 litres of DPK respectively.
“The site was deactivated while the 40HP outboard engine recovered along Banga Village Creek was taken to the Base.
“In another Crude Oil Theft operation on 9 Apr 20, a patrol team revisited a previously deactivated IRS along Oviloye Creek, Warri South West LGA and observed that it had been reactivated.
“The site had 2 refining units and 4 metal storage tanks, approximately 5,000litres of illegally refined AGO and 31.4 barrels of stolen crude oil.
“Also, during the operations, the team intercepted 2 fibre boats laden with about 4,000 litres of illegally refined DPK with 40HP and 60 HP outboard engines.
“The site and petroleum products were impounded and the 40HP and 60HP outboard engines were recovered to the Base.
“Cumulatively, the Forward Operating Base Escravos patrol teams denied oil thieves dealing of about 408,000 litres of illegally refined AGO, 2,232.4 barrels of stolen crude oil and 29,000 litres of DPK.
“In the same vein, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder on 8 Apr 20, while on patrol located an illegal refining site in Alakiri around Okirika general area of Rivers State.
“The site had approximately 20,000 litres of illegally refined AGO.
“The site and products were impounded while no arrest was made as the operators of the illegal refining site fled on sighting the patrol team.”
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