Navy arrests six illegal refinery operators

Coming on the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari’s threat that pipeline vandals would henceforth be treated like Boko Haram terrorists, the Nigerian Navy yesterday, said it has arrested six people suspected to be illegal refineries operators.

A statement issued by the Director, Naval Information (DINFO), Commodore Christian Ezekobe said the patrol team deployed from the Ship, NNS Pathfinder, caught the suspects at a large warehouse which serves as a store hose for refined products.

He disclosed the location of the warehouse to be Ogbogoro Uzoba waterside, around Choba in Port Harcourt Rivers State.

According to him, the raid was in continuation of the Chief of the Naval Staff’s resolve to “stamp out all forms of crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, illegal refineries and other unwholesome activities, that have impacted negatively on the security and economic development of Nigeria.”

It said evidence discovered at the facility include, three wooden boats containing about “20,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO, 350 drums, several GP and metal tanks ranging from 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 litres storage capacity, as well as seven pumping machines”.

The statement further said another patrol team deployed from the Naval warship, NNS Delta discovered and destroyed two illegal refineries in Jones creek.

The location of the refineries was Warri South West Local Council area, where evidential items were also recovered on the site, with some destroyed.

Among the items are, “A Cotonou boat, laden with about 66,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil, 4 GP storage tanks measuring 500 litres each. The GP tanks contain 2,000 metric tons of illegally refined AGO.

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