Barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari warned pipeline vandals that they would be treated like Boko Haram insurgents if they do not desist from the unpatriotic act, a Nigerian Navy patrol team deployed from NNS PATHFINDER arrested six persons for alleged illegal refining of petroleum products and pipeline vandalism .
The suspects, now undergoing investigation, were picked up from a large warehouse located at Ogbogoro Uzoba waterside around Choba in Port Harcourt Rivers State.
A statement by the Director of Naval Information, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, said: “The raid is in continuation of the Chief of the Naval Staff’s strong 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. The warehouse is suspected to serve as a storage facility for illegally refined products. “Also discovered in 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.
In addition, another Navy patrol team deployed from NNS DELTA discovered and destroyed two illegal refineries in Jones creek in Warri South West local Government Area of Delta State. “The items also destroyed in the site. Include 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 products suspected to be illegally refined AGO. Other items discovered at the site are 50 Jerry cans measuring 50 litres each containing 2.5 MT of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO, pumping machine, large metal tanks and a Cotonou boat.” Continuing Ezekobe said: “In a related development, the Naval Patrol team deployed from NNS BEECROFT has intercepted a notorious gang which specialized in vandalizing and siphoning petroleum products from NNPC pipelines in the Atlas cove area. This time, the group ran out of luck as the naval team which was on routine surveillance patrol of the area discovered they were loading PMS from the NNPC Single point mooring at Atlas cove. “On sighting the naval team, the suspects jumped into the water to evade arrest. In view of this, the patrol team confiscated the equipment they use for the illicit act including a wooden Cotonou boat laden with 245 empty drums measuring 250 litres each, 91 empty Jerry cans measuring 25 litres each, and 21 drums of 250 litres each loaded with stolen Premium Motor Spirit.”