The Nigerian Navy has busted an illegal crude oil market located at Cawthorne Channel, near Obumakiri community in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers state and recovered an unspecified amount of crude oil siphoned from a pipeline in the area.
The Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS Pathfinder), Sulaiman Ibrahim, disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday at the expanse of land where the illegal crude market was situated.
Ibrahim said the development followed the launch of ‘operation dakatar da barawo’, which means ‘operation stop the thief’.
The operation was launched by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, on April 1, 2022, in Onne, Rivers State.
Ibrahim said the illegal crude market which hitherto was once a beehive of crude oil thieves has now been decimated and its activities halted.
He added that the perpetrators escaped through the swamps on sighting the command’s operatives, adding that the operation was informed by the dwindling crude oil production in the country.
He said, “This morning we invited you to come and witness the efforts we are making in curtailing issues of stolen crude oil and illegally refining as well.
“If you would recall on April 1, the Nigerian Navy launched operation dakatar da barawo, because we all know that in the last couple of months, Nigeria had been unable to meet up her quota of crude oil production and this was as a result of the activities of illegal crude oil thieves.
“And just behind me, is where we refer to as the market square that is over 50 square kilometres where stolen crude is illegally cooked.
“We want to state with all pleasure that as it stands now, there are no more cooking activities taking place there, we’ve cleared the place.
“But along the line, we were very curious about the source of the crude oil that was taken to the market square to cook. So, we deployed assets. If you look behind me you will see the Nigerian Navy helicopter undertaking an aerial surveillance and this is made possible by the support of the Chief of Naval Staff, who has deployed resources at flashpoints to make sure that this illegal activity is put to a stop.”
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