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The Nigerian Army (NA) said its troops have uncovered two illegal refining sites where a large-scale economic sabotage is ongoing unhindered at Okoloma, Oyigbo Local Council, and Umuahale area, in Ukwa West Council of Rivers and Abia states, respectively.
The army disclosed that the operation was conducted by troops of the 6 and 82 Division of NA, adding that the discovery is an effort to end the notorious illegal oil bunkering regime in the Niger Delta and Southeast regions.
According to a statement by the Acting Deputy Director of 6 Division, Army Public Relations, Lieutenant Colonel Danjuma Jonah, the General Officers Commanding (GOCs) 6 and 82 Divisions, NA, Major General Jamal Abdussalam, and Major General Hassan Dada, jointly paid an operational visit to the illegal oil bunkering empires located at the fringes of the Imo River, where the two divisions are jointly conducting clearance operations from Rivers and Abia states.
Danjuma noted that the visit was essentially to have an on-the-spot assessment of the illegality perpetrated by criminals and economic saboteurs, as well as boost troops’ morale for a job well done, which was a follow-up to the earlier raid on one of the camps last week by troops of 6 Division.
However, the statement, which did not disclose how many litres of illegally refined petroleum products were discovered, revealed that the locations point to the fact that it is an organised crime that has been running for a long period, owing to the huge investment made to sabotage the national economy.
He said: “While at the fringes of the Imo River, deep into the thickly forested areas, the GOCs were conducted through a tour by the Commander, 6 Division Garrison, Brigadier General Edet Effiong and Commander 14 Brigade, Brigadier General Olusola Diya, where they saw the hub of illegal oil bunkering, shrouded with cooking pots, boilers, surface reservoirs and huge quantities of illegal products in dug-in reservoirs carefully concealed, under the thick forest with interconnected pipes spanning several kilometres.”
He added that the GOCs jointly addressed the troops and charged them to ensure all illegal bunkering sites were destroyed. He also re-echoed President Bola Tinubu’s directive on zero tolerance for illegal oil bunkering, charging troops to sustain the operational tempo against this mindless criminality.