Yenagoa ‚Äî Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta code-named ‘Operation Pulo Shield’, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, has explained why winning the war against oil theft and illegal refining was difficult for the security outfit in the region.
He said oil bunkers had devised the means of offering huge sums of money to JTF personnel to subvert them from carrying out their lawful duties.
Atewe cited a case when an officer of the JTF was offered N25 million by a group of illegal bunkerers to bribe their way through.
He, however, quickly added that the officer rejected the offer and got the culprits arrested.
Atewe revealed this on Saturday when the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association led by its National President, Felly Minimah, paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the JTF in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
He lamented that inadequate gunboats, essential kits, operational vehicles and manpower were some of the challenges of the security outfit.
He said despite the challenges and resilience of the oil criminals, the JTF was doing its best to win the war against oil theft, illegal refining and related crimes in the region.
According to him, illegal oil bunkering and refining were not only affecting the nation’s economy but also posed a serious threat to the health and livelihood of the people of the region.
Atewe also said the JTF in the first quarter of the year arrested 20 vessels, destroyed over 854 illegal refineries as well as killing and arrest of hardened sea pirates, kidnappers and cult members.
He described the visit of NAOWA officials as “morale booster”.