Operatives of the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta code-named Operation Pulo Shield at the weekend invaded illegal oil refinery camps in Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states, arresting 21 persons including a national of the Republic of Benin identified as Videgnon Akadje Medard.
Also seized and destroyed by the JTF operatives include 16 illegal crude oil distillation camps,503 steel tanks,44 plastic tanks,16 large surface tanks,329 drums,3 pumping machines,22 Cotonou boats and 22 cooking ovens used by the oil thrives along the creeks and waterways of the region.
The JTF in a statement issued on Monday by its Media Coordinator, Lt.Col. Onyeama Nwachukwu, said the arrest of the Benin Republic national and others were part of a security operation to identify those who specializes in sourcing for illegally distilled petroleum products in Nigeria‚Äôs Niger Delta area.
According to Nwachukwu, the crude oil thieves were arrested by operatives of 3 Battalion of Joint Task Force during a Patrol of Opodibobo creek near Escravos in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State,”The cartel led by one Sampson Omuti was busted during one of the series of anti-oil-theft operations recently carried out by the Battalion. The cartel also has as its members, Mssrs Romeo Orupade, Adena Wuriya, Blessing Julius, John Lomiegbene and Videgnon Akadje Medard.”
‚ÄúItems including one big contonou boat, containing 11 large plastic reservoirs and a speed boat were recovered from the suspects. The suspects are currently undergoing preliminary investigations to uncover their links and other collaborators in the illicit trade.”
Nwachukwu noted that in another anti-oil-theft operation, Seven suspects operating illegal oil distillation sites were arrested by troops of 3 and 19 Battalions covering the Sector 1 area of responsibility of the JTF.
“During the swift operation that resulted in the arrests, the troops scuttled 16 illegal oil distillation camps and 21 Cotonou boats in Tukula, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Odi II, Asugba, Beneth Island, Ekekudo, Escravos, Egwa, Egbeokute and Opodiboba in Warri South West, Warri South and Okpe Local Government Areas.”