In line with the Constitutional mandate of the Nigerian Army (NA) to curb economic sabotage and associated insecurity across Nigeria, troops of 6 Division have intensified coordinated anti-illegal oil bunkering and anti-sea piracy operations within the Division’s Area of Responsibility (AOR), thereby tightening the noose on economic saboteurs and sea pirates which led to an increase in oil production by multinational oil companies as indicated in their reports.
A look at the anti-illegal oil bunkering and anti-sea piracy operations conducted across the Division’s AOR between 16 April – 26 May 2019 indicated that troops of 16 Brigade successfully conducted many anti-illegal oil bunkering operations within Asitobo/Tumbo Creek and Ukparatobu in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area (LGA) of Bayelsa State, Obiafu in ONELGA, Ubeta, Oyakama and Obodi in Ahoada West LGA of Rivers State, Ebelebiri in Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa State and Ogbotobo in Ekeremor LGA of Bayelsa State.
During the operations, 46 illegal oil refining sites were located and destroyed along with 85 sacks/cellophane bags, 10 drums and 4 Cotonou boats all containing illegally refined products.
Additionally, 10 suspects were arrested while 2 motorcycles and 10 mobile phones were recovered. The vigilant troops also arrested 3 suspected sea robbers at Foropa in Southern Ijaw LGA of Bayelsa State on 26 April 2019 with one locally-made gun and 3 live cartridges. All suspects and exhibits have since been handed over to relevant authorities for prosecution.
Additionally, similar operations were concurrently launched in 63 Brigade AOR. Hence, troops of 3 Battalion in conjunction with troops of Sector 1 Joint Task Force Operation DELTA SAFE (JTF OPDS) carefully planned and successfully executed massive anti-illegal oil bunkering operations covering Jones, Yeye and Otumara creeks, as well as Beneth Island and Otumara general area of Warri South-West LGA of Delta State.
Similar operations were also conducted in Ozoro, Otor-Igho communities and Ozoro-Kwale road in Isoko North LGA of Delta State. Uguangwe, Ubeji, Ogbokodo-Itsekiri, Okogho, Okerisa/Ugboritseduwa Creeks and Makaraba in Warri South LGA of Delta State.
The gallant troops also operated along the Benin River in Warri North LGA, Uvwie LGA, Yorki in Burutu LGA, Sapele LGA, Ejekota, Ewu general area and Orere Waterside all in Ughelli LGA of Delta State among others.
Consequently, a total of 35 sting operations were conducted during the period under review, in which 65 illegal oil refineries were located and destroyed in addition to 150 cellophane bags, 120 drums and 15 Cotonou boats containing illegally acquired products.
Additionally, 7 suspects were arrested and handed over to relevant authorities for prosecution.
Similarly, operations are routinely conducted by the Division’s Special Company (SC) in Rivers State. Troops of the SC patriotically patrolled the entire Rivers State including Abonnema Wharf, Total Elf, Trans Amadi Layout, East-West Road, Aluu, Marine Base, Aboloma, Mbodo and Makoba all in Obio-Akpor LGA among others.
This action denied criminals and saboteurs freedom of action with a boost to Nigeria’s economic fortunes.
Other achievements of the operations are the identification and subsequent destruction of 28 illegal oil refineries along with 1000 sacks/cellophane bags, 760 drums of illegally refined products, 25 dump sites and 6 loaded Cotonou boats containing illegally acquired products.
Additionally, 12 suspects were arrested along with 60 tankers/trucks as well as 26 four-wheel vehicles used in the criminal acts of economic sabotage. The arrested suspects and exhibits have been handed over to relevant security agencies for prosecution.
Consequently, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai through the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Major General Jamil Sarham, commended the troops for their dedication and selfless service to the nation and urged them to redouble their efforts in checkmating illegal oil bunkering, sea piracy and pipeline vandalisation in 6 Division AOR.