Kingsley Nwezeh, Udora Orizu in Abuja and Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
As the battle against crude oil theft, a development that has resulted to severe revenue to the country as well as its inability to meet its production quota, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday disclosed that it had launched a special operation code named ‘Operation Dakatar da Barawo’ in order to curb crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
It also revealed that 30 illegal oil refineries had been demobilised in the region by the naval troops in the last two weeks.This was just as the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari, yesterday expressed optimism that the country would return to normal crude oil production in the next two months, even as he stressed the need for collective action to address the unfortunate situation.
Speaking at a briefing in Abuja, the Director, Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Maj Gen Benard Onyeuko, said the new operation in the Niger Delta region was aimed at reinvigorating the already existing operation Delta Safe, with a view to containing economic saboteurs in the region.
Other objectives of the new operations include, “to secure critical maritime infrastructure, create enabling environment for the sustenance of desired level of hydrocarbon production, safe shipping and economic activities, and restore investor confidence in Nigeria’s Maritime domain, among others”.
He pointed out that troops of Operation Delta Safe had continued to dominate the zone and had conducted anti-crude oil theft and anti-illegal oil bunkering related operations at different locations. He listed the locations to include Opuama Celestial, Lolomu Ruler in Warri North Local Government Area, Obodo water-ways in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Other locations are: Egbeda, Ibaa, Oduoha, Rumekpe in Emohua Local Government Area, Elele; Ikwere Local Government Area of River State and Brass Creek in Ozobo community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.”Accordingly, troops discovered and destroyed 30 illegal refining sites, 37 reservoirs, 31 ovens, 12 large wooden boats, two cooling systems, three receivers, three storage pits and a metal drums. “Cumulatively, troops within the period under review recovered 12,150,000 liters of illegal refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) 4,000 liters of stolen crude oil, three tankers, three vehicles, 73 galvanised pipes, two motorcycles, one bus, one Toyota Camry, Mercedes Benz car,” he revealed.