The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta region, Operation Delta Safe, on Thursday paraded 12 suspected illegal oil dealers and seven tankers loaded with over 210,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (a.k.a diesel) in Effurun, Delta State.
Other items also seized from the suspects included a truck, car, bus and other materials at different locations in Koko, Ughelli and Warri areas of the state in August.
Sector 1 Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Col. Alhassan Grema, during the parade and handing over ceremony held at the 3 Battalion Barracks of the Nigerian Army in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area of the state, told newsmen that several Cotonou boats used for illegal refinery businesses had also been destroyed by the military outfit.
Grema warned oil thieves in the region to desist, vowing to ensure that unrepentant illegal oil bunkerers are apprehended and prosecuted.
While handing the suspects and the impounded items to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for further investigation and prosecution, he noted that ODS had been working tediously to ensure that the region was free from pipeline vandals.
According to him, “Since the activation of the Operation Delta Safe, we have been quite busy securing oil facilities within the Niger Delta region. We have effected several arrests and seizures.
“Today, it’s my pleasure to hand over some seized items and some arrested suspects to officials of NSCDC in Delta State for prosecution. Specifically, on behalf of the Joint Task Force Commander, I will be handing over seven tankers, a bus, a truck, a Golf Car and several exhibits as well as 12 suspects.”
Grema added, “We have effected several arrests of Cotonou boats used in illegal bunkering in the creeks. Most of those we impounded were destroyed in situ.”
Deputy Commandant of the Delta State NSCDC, Mr. Austin Chiwuzo, who received the suspects and items on behalf of the agency, promised further investigation to ensure that the suspects are speedily prosecuted.