JTF destroys six illegal refineries, arrests 21

Operatives of the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, have arrested 21 suspects and destroyed six illegal refineries in Delta, Edo and Bayelsa States.

The troops also arrested suspects for various criminal activities in the region ranging from oil theft, kidnapping, piracy and illegal oil bunkering.

Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre of the outfit, Lt.-Col. Ado Isa, said in a statement on Wednesday that the suspects were arrested along Ughelli–Warri and Orerokpe Community in Okpe and Ughelli North Local Government Areas of Delta State.

He said the items recovered from the suspects were rolls of stolen armoured cable, two circuit breakers, twelve cutouts and two saw blades.

Other items, according to the spokesman, were bags of substances suspected to be Cannabis Sativa. He said the recovered items were in the custody of JTF for preliminary investigation before being handed over to the relevant prosecuting agencies.

He also said the troops apprehended an illegal oil bunkering tanker laden with 33,000 litres of substances suspected to be illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (diesel).

He said five suspects were arrested while trying to flee the scene.

He gave the suspects’ names as Chika Obi, Nasiru Abu, Roland Ovboiebo, Toju Popo and Bello Ismaila.

He said the trucks with their contents and the suspects were in custody of the JTF for further action.

He also said a notorious kidnap kingpin, Presley Umokoro, who was hitherto at large, had been arrested in connection with the kidnap of one Mrs. Ufoma James.

He said Umukoro was arrested at Oghara in Ethiope West LGA of Delta state.

Isa said the Sector 1 anti-illegal oil bunkering squad of the outfit deployed in Oka pipeline in Ikpoba Okha LGA of Edo State discovered hose connected to an illegal oil bunkering truck with number plate EDO BEN 117 ZN loaded with 16 plastic tanks of 1500 litres capacity, each loaded with illegally refined diesel.

He said the products estimated to be about 24,000 litres were suspected to have been illegally siphoned from the NNPC pipeline.

He, however, said the the vandals fled prior to the arrival of the troops.

The spokesman added, “The Sector 2 of the JTF operating along Gbenekrukru general area of Southern Ijaw LGA of Bayelsa destroyed six illegal bunkering sites where oil thieves operate with  four storage tanks, illegal oil storage pits and drums filled with illegally acquired AGO.

“Other items include hoses and pumping machine. The items and the sites were destroyed in line with the JTF’s mandate in the region.”

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.