Oil thieves devise fresh strategy to thwart naval raids
OIL bunkerers and illegal refiners have introduced new measures to frustrate renewed drive to rid the Niger Delta area of related criminal activities by falling big trees across creeks where they refine products, the Nigerian Navy has disclosed.
The new Commanding Officer of NNS Delta, Commodore Raimi Omuya Mohammed, who made the disclosure while leading an operation against oil bunkerers in Warri South Local Council of Delta State, said his team encountered the difficult when storming camps where illicit products were being refined.
He added that despite the blockade, the naval team was able to manoeuvre its way through the thick mangrove and swooped on the site where stealing of crude oil directly from a Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) well head was already subsisting at Ugbodede Community in the council.
Mohammed said two large wooden boats were at the scene loading crude oil along with two speed boats already stocked with over 40 jerry cans of product suspected to be kerosene, adding that the wooden boats and speed boats were towed to a safe location and set ablaze by his men.
He added that efforts to turn off the wellhead were unsuccessful as the thieves fled into the forest with the key.
The community head has, meanwhile, dissociated his people from the nefarious activity.
One Kingsley Omadeli believed to be a kingpin of illicit business and three other persons were arrested by the navy in the community but one of the men reported jumped into the river and escaped.
Commodore Mohammed, however, vowed that the waters of NNS Delta would not be comfortable for any criminality, adding that “there is change in the country and we are enforcing that change.”
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