No fewer than 17 illegal vessels and 20 barges have been intercepted by the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, in the last three months, Commander, JTF, Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, has revealed.
Atewe, who assumed duty as the JTF commander on March 8, 2014, also said many illegal refineries had been destroyed during the period.
The commander made this known yesterday during the operational visit of the Chief of Training and Operations (CTOP), Defence Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Ebibowei Awala, to the headquarters of the JTF in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
He commended the CTOP for the visit, saying it was a boost to troops’ moral under his command.
He assured him of his determination to stamp out all forms of illegalities in the Niger Delta, especially in the area of oil theft and illegal bunkering.
In his remarks, Awala commended the JTF for effective performance and determination to stamp out illegal oil bunkering and oil theft in the region.
He reaffirmed that illegal oil bunkering and other criminalities hindered the economic growth of Nigeria.
According to him, oil sector in Nigeria is the major source of revenue which must be protected by all means against economic saboteurs.
He also commended the troops under Atewe for their doggedness and determination in carrying out the mandate of the security outfit professionally.
He said, “Let me call on troops to be good ambassadors of their various arms by adhering strictly to the code of conduct of the JTF and by carrying out their job in a professional manner.
“You must desist from any act capable of tarnishing and undermining the activities of the task force. Integrity should be your watch words.”
He assured the troops of the support of the Defence Headquarters through provision of adequate logistics and welfare of personnel for effective policing of the water ways of the Niger Delta.