By Sumaila Ogbaje, Abuja.
The Defence Headquarters says troops of Operation Delta Safe have apprehended 21 pipeline vandals and impounded N3.7 billion worth of stolen crude oil and petroleum products in the last two weeks.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, made this known at a bi-weekly news briefing of the Defence Headquarters on Thursday in Abuja.
Danmadami said the troops, in the conduct of Operation Octopus Grip and Operation Dakar Da Barawo, made the arrest during operational activities in creeks, villages, communities and towns in the Niger Delta area.
He said that the troops also discovered and destroyed several illegal crude oil refining sites, which comprised 493 dugout pits, 512 storage tanks, 413 cooking ovens and 59 wooden boats.
He added that the troops also seized four tankers, two speed boats, one generator, one outboard engine, 14 pumping machines and three AK47 rifles during the operations.
“Troops also impounded 25,977.15 barrels of crude oil, 3.2 million litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 26,575 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and 2,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK).
“Troops also arrested 21 pipelines vandals, while all recovered items and apprehended oil thieves were handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
“Oil thieves were denied a cumulative total of N3.7 worth of products, comprising N1.3 billion worth of crude oil; N2.3 worth of AGO; N4.6 million worth of PMS and N15.9 million worth of DPK, during the period in review,’’ he said.
In the South East geopolitical zone, Danmadami said that the military and other security agencies had sustained onslaught against the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to restore normalcy in the region.
In South West zone, the director said that the troops of Operation ATWASE had continued to clamp down on smugglers of contraband in the border areas, bushes and watersides in Ogun and Kwara states.
“Items recovered during the operations include 1,542 jerry cans of Premium Motor Spirit, 311 bags of 50kg. foreign rice and a truck loaded with substances suspected to be cannabis sativa.
“All recovered items were handed over to Nigeria Customs Service in Ogun and Kwara states for further necessary action,’’ he added.